New Covid Variant Shows Signs of Antibody Resistance

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Scientists at Texas AM Universitys Global Health Research Complex say theyve detected a new Covid19 variant that shows signs of a more contagious strain that causes more severe illness and appears to be resistant to antibodies. The new variant, BV1, named after its Brazos Valley origin, was found during Texas AMs routine coronavirus screening via saliva sample in a young student who had mild coldlike symptoms. The student tested positive for Covid on March 5 and tested positive again on March 25, showing that the new strain may cause a longer infection in younger people. The students symptoms resolved by April 2 and a third test on April 9 came back negative.

Texas AM scientists say that cell culturebased experiments from other labs have shown that several neutralizing antibodies had no effect in controlling other variants with the same genetic markers as BV1. The scientists also say they have submitted a paper on BV1 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to alert officials before it spreads further. The lab has identified many Covid mutations through its genetic sequencing program, but Neuman said the genetic makeup of this strain is particularly concerning.

Many U.S. labs sequence only severe Covid cases, but the Texas AM lab is testing and sequencing asymptomatic students to catch dangerous strains early before they can cause serious illness. Scientists at the lab say the new variant is related to the B.1.1.7 strain out of the U.K., which current vaccines…

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