New coronavirus strain detected in São Paulo

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The diagnostic laboratory Dasa identified on Thursday (31) two cases of the new variant of the coronavirus in São Paulo. According to the researchers, it is the same strain initially detected in the United Kingdom, labeled as B.1.1.7.

The discovery of the variation, now registered in at least 17 countries in the world, was communicated to the Adolfo Lutz Institute and to the Health Surveillance. This mutation already represents more than 50% of new cases diagnosed in the United Kingdom, according to the World Health Organization.

The recent version of the coronavirus has mutations that affect the way the virus attaches itself to human cells. Experts say there is no evidence that the variant is more deadly or more resistant to vaccines. However, it is 56% more contagious.

How was the new coronavirus strain identified?

The laboratory that identified the new coronavirus strain in two patients started the study in mid-December, when the United Kingdom published the first scientific information about the variant. In partnership with USP’s Institute of Tropical Medicine, 400 saliva RT-PCR samples were analyzed, and the strain was identified by genetic sequencing.

Now, the concern of the two laboratories is focused on generating material that allows assessing the efficiency of the diagnostic tests of the coronavirus currently in use. Experts fear that the new strain may have false negatives, in which case the person is ill, but the test does not detect the presence of the virus.

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