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LSU Health Shreveport Discovers New COVID-19 Variant in Louisiana

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The EVT Biral Genomics and Sequencing Lab at LSU Health Shreveport states that it was the first state to sequence and report the detection of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a virus that causes COVID-19, in Louisiana.

The new variant B.1.630 was sequenced from two samples collected at Baton Rouge last week.

“Thanks to many state-wide partnerships, the EVT Viral Genomics and Sequencing Lab can sequence a wide variety of samples, increasing the likelihood of finding new variants. Genome sequencing and the data provided by this science “It is important to continue our public health surveillance mission and will help best protect the citizens of Louisiana during this pandemic,” said Chris Keville, Vice President of Research at LSU Health Shreveport. The doctor says.

According to the release, the B.1.630 variant was first detected in the United States in early March 2021. There are no Greek letter names like variant classification or Delta variants because the percentage of sequenced samples is very small.

According to LSU Health Shreveport, this variant contains the E484Q mutation, which can allow the virus to escape the host’s immune system and lead to infection.

Researchers say there are only 79 of these mutants sequenced in the United States. The advantage is very low.

Dr. Crysta Queen, Director of Virus Genomics and Surveillance at the Center of Excellence, said: A new viral threat in LSUHS. “The strain or sublineage of SARS-CoV-2 with this E484Q mutation has been monitored because of the potential for anti-immunity. Some of the other non-mutant variants that enhance infectivity are final. However, it is important to monitor changes in abundance. “

Viruses containing this mutation may be able to escape the immune response and resist antibodies, but researchers say vaccination remains the best tool to prevent infection and serious illness. ..

Mutations in the virus are not uncommon.

According to LSU Health Shreveport, RNA viruses, such as the virus that causes COVID-19, are prone to mutations because they have a way to copy the genome. Vaccination does not prevent mutations in the virus. However, if vaccination prevents the infection, the virus has no chance of mutating. The higher the proportion of the vaccinated population, the less likely the virus will mutate to a new strain, making it more infectious or more harmful.

To date, the EVT Viral Genomics and Sequencing Lab has completed genomic sequencing of over 7,000 COVID-19 test samples and is the world’s top submitter in Louisiana, according to LSU Health Shreveport. GISAID Database. LSUHS scientists see the B.1.617.2 (Delta) SARS-CoV-2 variant as the most prevalent in northern Louisiana.

For more information on the Center of Excellence for Emerging Virus Threats and the LSUHS COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic click here..

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