Texas A&M University scientists identify new Covid variant

A new variant of Covid-19 has been found by scientists at the US Texas A&M University, the media reported.

The variant, BV-1, was found in just one case: an individual who had mild symptoms, the Texas A&M scientists were quoted as saying, Xinhua news agency reported.

The patient, a student who lives off-campus, first tested positive on March 5. A second test on March 25 was still positive, indicating the variant may cause longer-lasting infections than other variants, the scientists said. An April 9, test was negative.

The student showed mild, cold-like symptoms the first few weeks. The symptoms did not fully go away until April 2.

According to the scientists, BV-1 is related to the UK variant of SARS-CoV-2 and has a “potentially concerning genetic make-up” that indicates it might not respond 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,” said Ben Neuman, the Global Health Research Complex Chief Virologist at Texas A&M University.

“This variant combines genetic markers separately associated with rapid spread, severe disease and high resistance to neutralizing antibodies,” Neuman said.

Neuman said the scientists will continue to monitor for more cases of the variant.