Scientists Discover New Coronavirus Variant Potentially Resistant to Antibodies

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (greenish brown) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (pink), also known as novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Ma (photo credit: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES – NIH/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Scientists at Texas A&M University have identified a variant of the novel coronavirus that is potentially resistant to antibodies, the university announced in a statement.

The strain, BV-1, was found in one individual who had reported mild symptoms of COVID-19.

During lab tests, research showed that “several neutralizing antibodies are ineffective in controlling other variants with the same genetic markers as BV-1,” the university said.

“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 Global Health Research Complex 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,” he 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.”

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SOURCE: The Jerusalem Post, Zachary Keyser

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