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A new study says the coronavirus variant first detected in Brazil appears to be much more transmissible than other versions of the virus.
The study, first published in Science, also said that the variant called P.1 could evade the immunity that people obtained after being previously infected with coronavirus.
Brazil has struggled desperately with the COVID pandemic, reporting 14.5 million confirmed cases (the third largest in the world) and nearly 399,000 deaths related to COVID (the second largest in the world).
Manaus, the capital of the Amazon, has been particularly affected.
In an article on the study, Science Daily He noted that about 75% of the people in Manaus were infected by the first wave of COVID by mid-2020. Some experts speculated that the city may have achieved herd immunity.
But a second wave of infections hit Manaus in late 2020, with P.1 being the dominant strain.
“Our epidemiological model indicates that P.1 is likely to be more transmissible than previous coronavirus strains and that it may elude immunity gained from infection with other strains,” author of the new study, Samir Bhatt, a researcher at said the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen in Science Daily.
The researchers found that P.1 acquired 17 mutations, including three mutations in the ear protein. The P.1 strain is 1.7 to 2.4 times more transmissible than other coronavirus strains and can prevent 10% to 46% of the immunity people get from being infected with other strains.
The researchers also determined that people in Manaus were 1.2 to 1.9 times more likely to die from a P.1 infection than from other strains.
But the study noted that “the recent epidemic in Manaus has strained the city’s health system and led to inadequate access to health care. Therefore, we cannot determine whether the estimated increase in the risk of relative mortality is due to P.1 infection, ”Manaus’ health stresses. system, or both. “
The P.1 variant has spread around the world since it was discovered in Brazil. In the United States, 497 cases have been reported in 31 states, said the CDC.
Science: “Genomics and epidemiology of the P.1 SARS-CoV-2 lineage in Manaus, Brazil.”
ScienceDaily: “The study finds that” the Brazilian variant of coronavirus is more transmissible and is able to evade immunity. “