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ORLANDO, Fla. – Researchers are now studying a new COVID-19 variant recently discovered in a person in Texas.

“It’s not the Brazil variant, it’s not any of the other variants that people have heard of. It’s in a different spot and we don’t want this to slip under the radar and go undetected,” Ben Neuman, chief virologist at the Global Health Research Complex at Texas A&M said. “We’re trying to be an early warning system and pick up these things before they become a problem. What we found were three interesting mutants and I think the most interesting of these is one that we call the BV-1.”

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Neuman, also said the new COVID-19 variant they discovered is similar to the U.K. variant only the BV-1 has an extra mutation.

“The mutation is in a little spot right at the top of the spike protein, where the spike would attach to a cell to start an infection,” he said.

The new variant was found during a routine coronavirus screening in one of the students at Texas A&M University who has since recovered.

“The student had mild symptoms, but they lasted for a long time. Now, we don’t know for sure whether or not the length of the symptoms is something that’s gonna be characteristic for this because we only found it once,” Neuman said. “This is the first case we know about, but what viruses do, when there’s one there are always more. So, we know there were some people that had close contact with this particular case and we know there was a period of time in which this person did not know that they were infected and so potentially could’ve spread this.”

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News 6 spoke via zoom with Dr. Todd Husty, medical director for Seminole County, about what local health officials will do next, now that a new variant has been discovered. Husty said it takes at least two weeks for standardized testing to be created, so states can begin the process of checking for the new variant.

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