Examining COVID-19 and Its New Variants Found Across Texas

As vaccines continue to roll out, life is slowly returning to normal. Since the world shutdown last March, it is refreshing to picture a world without COVID-19.

While we approach an end to this pandemic, variants of the original virus have begun to sprout across the world.

To date, the COVID mutations with the largest presence globally are the United Kingdom (UK), South African and Brazil variants.

Last month, a student at Texas A&M University (TAMU) was identified to have a variant of COVID, which has been dubbed as the BV-1 variant.

BV-1, named for its origin in Brazos Valley, has also led to the discovery of BV-2 and BV-3 variants.

Ben Neuman, Ph.D., Global Health Research Complex Chief Virologist and professor at TAMU, explained that even though the student tested positive for the BV-1 variant, her case was luckily mild.

Dr. Neuman at the Neuman Lab at Texas A&M University

"We know that the disease was mild. She actually thought she was asymptomatic at first, but then had a little fever for half a day. The cough didn't go away and [she] just felt off," Neuman said. "Which for COVID-19, that's pretty mild. And that's one of the better outcomes that you would see."

While her case was mild, she still was reported to have symptoms that lasted longer than a normal case of COVID. While Neuman knows a great deal about the virus, there is not enough information yet to determine why this student had symptoms over a longer period.

"The caution there is that this is one case … COVID-19 is the most variable viral disease that I have ever heard of. All we can say is that 'oh, that was kind of unusual, and let's see when this happens again,'" Neuman said. "We've been looking for potential contacts, [but] all those leads have gone cold. So now, we are sequencing … another 600 positive samples that came in from various places on campus. We're interested to see what those say."

Neuman noted that since people can travel and g