New, antibody-resistant coronavirus variant discovered in Texas
Researchers at Texas A&M University this week reported a new strain of the coronavirus called the BV-1.
The BV-1 variant was found in a saliva sample taken from a student who lives off campus and tested positive for the coronavirus on March 5, the university announced Monday.
Researchers have not found the strain in other individuals but called its genetic make-up “concerning” because it may be resistant to antibodies.
“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,” Ben Neuman, chief virologist at the university’s Global Health Research Complex, said in a statement.
He added: “This variant combines genetic markers separately associated with rapid spread, severe disease and high resistance to neutralizing antibodies.”
Researchers said the student tested positive for the virus for about a month, “indicating the variant may cause a longer lasting infection than is typical of COVID-19 for adults ages 18-24.”
Scientists said they have alerted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about BV-1, which is named after its origin in the Brazos Valley region of Texas.
Jessica Flores is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @jesssmflores