New COVID-19 Variant Discovered By Texas A&M Scientists

By Anna Gallegos

April 19, 2021

Scientists at Texas A&M discovered a new COVID-19 variant.

The university announced on Monday the discovery of BV-1, which is similar to the United Kingdom variant of the virus.

BV stands for Brazos Valley, where the variant was first identified.

So far, the variant has only been found in one person who had mild symptoms. It was identified in a saliva sample taken from a Texas A&M student on March 5 as part of the university’s ongoing COVID-19 testing program.

The student later provided a second sample that tested positive on March 25, indicating the variant may cause a longer lasting infection than is typical of COVID-19 for adults ages 18-24. A third sample obtained on April 9 was negative and revealed no evidence of virus.

Scientists do not know if this variant is widespread or what it means for the overall pandemic and current vaccines. Despite only find the variant in one student, Texas A&M said it was important to share the information with scientists across the globe.

“We do not at present know the full significance of this variant, but it has a combination of mutations similar to other internationally notifiable variants of concern,” Texas A&M University Global Health Research Complex Chief Virologist Ben Neuman said in a statement. “This variant combines genetic markers separately associated with rapid spread, severe disease and high resistance to neutralizing antibodies.”

The university now plans to expand its testing to include people not showing COVID-19 symptoms to better understand the variant.

There are five known COVID-19 variants in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This would be the sixth.

Photo: Getty Images

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