Case Report: Paucisymptomatic College-Age Population as a Reservoir for Potentially Neutralization-Resistant Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Variants

View More View Less
  • 1 Global Health Research Complex, Division of Research, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas;
  • | 2 College of Science, College Station, Texas;
  • | 3 Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society, College Station, Texas;
  • | 4 Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station, Texas;
  • | 5 School of Public Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas;
  • | 6 College of Medicine, College Station, Texas;
  • | 7 Texas Department of State Health Services, State Epidemiologist, Austin, Texas;
  • | 8 Student Health Services, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas;
  • | 9 Brazos County Health Department, Epidemiology, College Station, Texas

To better understand the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant lineage distribution in a college campus population, we carried out viral genome surveillance over a 7-week period from January to March 2021. Among the sequences were three novel viral variants: BV-1 with a B.1.1.7/20I genetic background and an additional spike mutation Q493R, associated with a mild but longer-than-usual COVID-19 case in a college-age person, BV-2 with a T478K mutation on a 20B genetic background, and BV-3, an apparent recombinant lineage. This work highlights the potential of an undervaccinated younger population as a reservoir for the spread and generation of novel variants. This also demonstrates the value of whole genome sequencing as a routine disease surveillance tool.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Benjamin W. Neuman, Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, 3258 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843. E-mail: bneuman@tamu.edu

Financial support: Funding provided by the Texas A&M University System, Texas A&M University and CARES Act – Institutional Stimulus.

Authors’ addresses: Benjamin W. Neuman, Global Health Research Complex, Division of Research, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, and College of Science, College Station, TX, E-mail: bneuman@tamu.edu. Wesley A. Brashear, Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society, College Station, TX, E-mail: wbrashear@tamu.edu. Marcel Brun, Joshua E. Hill, Charles D. Johnson, Richard P. Metz, and Matthew A. Stull, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station, TX, E-mails: marcel.brun@ag.tamu.edu, joshua.hill@ag.tamu.edu, charlie@ag.tamu.edu, rmetz@tamu.edu, and matthew.stull@ag.tamu.edu. Sankar P. Chaki, Sierra J. Guidry, Melissa M. Kahl-McDonagh, and Kurt Zuelke, Global Health Research Complex, Division of Research, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, E-mails: spchaki@tamu.edu, sierraj@tamu.edu, kahl-mcdonagh@tamu.edu, and k_zuelke_2019@tamu.edu. Rebecca S. B. Fischer, School of Public Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, E-mail: rfischer@email.tamu.edu. Andrew E. Hillhouse and David W. Threadgill, Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society, College Station, TX, and College of Medicine, College Station, TX, E-mails: ahillhouse@tamu.edu and dwthreadgill@tamu.edu. Allison C. Rice-Ficht, Global Health Research Complex, Division of Research, College Station, TX, and College of Medicine, College Station, TX, E-mail: a-ficht@tamu.edu. Jennifer A. Shuford, Texas Department of State Health Services, State Epidemiologist, Austin, TX, E-mail: jennifer.shuford@dshs.texas.gov. Tiffany A. Skaggs, Student Health Services, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, E-mail: tskaggs@shs.tamu.edu. Yao Akpalu, Brazos County Health Department, Epidemiology, College Station, TX, E-mail: yakpalu@brazoscountytx.gov.

Save