Scientists detect a coronavirus variant in Amazon

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Last Sunday (10), health authorities in Japan put, in the international database, details of the sequencing of a new variant of the coronavirus found in four travelers who returned to that country after a trip to Brazil. Now, Fiocruz Amazônia is conducting research that could reveal a new Brazilian lineage.

Although experts admit that any conclusion about the finding is premature, since the research has not yet been completed, at least two significant changes have been observed in the virus’s spike protein, that “thorn” that binds the pathogen to the cell . It is the same strain most seen in Brazil, B.1.1.28, but with changes.

The researcher at Fiocruz Amazônia who is conducting the studies, Felipe Naveca, said that the researchers are comparing the data published by the Japanese with the existing samples in the Amazonas database, collected between April and November last year.

The explosion of new cases of covid-19 in the Amazon

The December samples are still in the final stage of analysis in the state and may help to understand a relationship between the possible mutation of the virus and the explosion of new cases of the second wave of contamination that has already brought the health system of the capital Manaus to the collapse.

Without ruling out the possibility that the mutations found in the virus could explain the explosion of cases in Amazonas, Naveca considered that health authorities knew that this increase would occur “because people were not distancing themselves; on December 26th and 27th there was a protest because the governor ordered the trade to be closed, there were the end of the year parties ”.

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For the researcher, it may be that the variant is not responsible for an increase in more serious infections, but that the virus can be transmitted more easily. And he concludes: “We always warn that the more a virus infects people, the more it will evolve”.

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