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.
Address correspondence to Benjamin W. Neuman, Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, 3258 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843. E-mail: email@example.com
Financial support: Funding provided by the Texas A&M University System, Texas A&M University and CARES Act – Institutional Stimulus.