Scientists at the Texas A&M University Global Health Research Complex (GHRC) have identified a variant of the COVID-19 virus—"BV-1"—that could present a new challenge to public health. This is reported by Medical Xpress.
Although found in only one individual who had only mild symptoms, the Texas A&M scientists decided they should share information about the variant with scientists across the globe.
That's because published cell culture-based experiments from other labs have shown several neutralizing antibodies are ineffective in controlling other variants with the same genetic markers as BV-1.
"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 GHRC Chief Virologist Ben Neuman. "This variant combines genetic markers separately associated with rapid spread, severe disease and high resistance to neutralizing antibodies."
"We have not detected any more instances of this variant," Neuman added. "We have not grown or tested this virus in any way. This announcement is based purely on the genetic sequence analysis done in the lab."
BV-1 is related to the United Kingdom (UK) variant of SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19). The "BV" stands for "Brazos Valley," the seven-county region of Texas where Texas A&M and GHRC are located.
During the past 24 hours, 3,904 people were hospitalized; 5,250 patients were discharged; 470 lethal cases registered; 18,831 people recovered; 981,101 tests were held.
Since the beginning of the pandemic: 1,353,990 people got infected; 1,533,303 patients recovered; 41,266 lethal cases reported and 9,089,301 PCR tests were held.
The majority of the confirmed cases are observed in Kyiv (1,673), Kharkiv (1,333), Zaporizhia (995), Dnipropetrovsk (976) and Kyiv (887) regions.