Wednesday, June 29

What is known about the variant of the coronavirus detected in Brazil?


Thursday, 14 January 2021 – 18:55

Another mutation, originally from the Brazilian Amazon, whose finding was announced on Sunday by Japan, is being analyzed and could impact the immune response. “It is probably very contagious”

Workers carry the coffin with the body of a deceased by ...

Workers carry the coffin with the body of a deceased by covid-19 in the Nossa Senhora Aparecida public cemetery, in Manaus, Amazonas (Brazil).
Raphael Alves EFE

  • Coronavirus.

    Japan detects a new strain different from the UK and South Africa

  • Contagions.

    The new strain of coronavirus discovered in the United Kingdom is spreading rapidly

The emergency committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) analyzes this Thursday the new variants of the coronavirus, which worry the authorities around the world, where the fight against the increase in infections is intensified by lockdowns, curfews and vaccination campaigns.

Another mutation, originally from the Brazilian Amazon, whose finding was announced on Sunday by Japan, is being analyzed and could impact the immune response, according to the WHO that speaks of a “worrying variant”.

This variant is “very likely” more contagious, like the British or South African, the researcher told AFP Felipe Naveca, which leads the studies on virus mutations in the state of Amazonas (north).

Naveca, a member of the Leônidas Institute and Maria Deane who works together with the prestigious Fiocruz Foundation, also indicates that the new variant may already be present in other parts of Brazil and does not rule out that it is the predominant strain in the state of Amazonas, where the pandemic is wreaking havoc.

The pandemic has already left more than 205,000 dead in Brazil, a balance surpassed only by the United States. With a brutal incidence in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas is close to collapse due to the increase in infections and deaths.

What is known about the new variant of the coronavirus reported in Japan?
We are finishing the sequencing [de las muestras] December, to find out if those mutations described in Japan were already circulating in the Amazon. Most likely yes. We need to understand if this variant is the one that predominates now in Amazonas.
Is it possible that it is more contagious, like the British or South African?
I cannot guarantee that this is the case, but there is that possibility due to the mutations it presented at position E484K and N501Y [de la proteína Spike], which were already associated with this greater transmission potential. So most likely yes [es más contagiosa].
Is the rise in cases in Manaus due to this new variant?
The situation in Manaus is not only due to a variant, we have an increase in cases already expected due to the holidays at the end of the year and because we are in the period of virus transmission [respiratorios] in the state of Amazonas (…). One of the hypotheses that it is occurring here in Amazonas is due to the very high number of cases, but (…) it may be occurring in other regions of Brazil. There was a coincidence when the Japanese investigators detected the case. We were probably going to identify him these weeks, but their alert was very important. We have no way of specifying that it did not leave the Amazon. If it came to Japan, it may be circulating in other parts of Brazil.
Will the new variant affect the efficacy of covid-19 vaccines?
That is the question everyone is asking. I participated in a WHO meeting where that was one of the points under discussion. So far there is no evidence that this lineage impairs the vaccine response.

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