The new strain of coronavirus identified in infected patients in the city of Manaus (Amazonas) is expected to become the dominant variant in Brazil soon. Who affirms is the infectologist of Fiocruz Amazônia Marcus Lacerda, in an interview to O Globo this Friday (29).
Named P.1, it was found in 91% of virus samples sequenced throughout January in the state and is pointed out by scientists who monitor the pandemic in the region as responsible for ending the collective immunity that existed in the capital, resulting in a new explosion of covid-19 cases in early 2021.
According to Lacerda, probably the P.1 variant of Sars-CoV-2 is already present in other regions of Brazil – three cases were identified in São Paulo last Wednesday (29). It is a “matter of time” for it to prevail over the other known strains of the virus, something like “a month”, predicts the expert.
Recently identified by Japanese researchers when analyzing samples from travelers who were in northern Brazil, the new strain shows mutations in the spike protein region and there are indications that it has a greater transmission capacity. Despite this, the precautions to avoid contagion are the same as those already known to all.
Possibility of “mega-epidemic”
In an interview with the Manhattan Connection program on TV Cultura, former Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta stated that the coronavirus variant that emerged in Manaus could generate a mega-epidemic in Brazil in up to 60 days.
For him, the lack of actions to prevent the spread of P.1, combined with the transfer of patients to other states without any type of biosafety block, will spread the strain throughout the country.
Even agreeing with the gravity of the situation, Lacerda makes a reservation. According to the specialist, those who are spreading the viruses are travelers who do not comply with the isolation or take control measures.