Italy is the main origin of individuals who first brought a new corona virus to Brazil, according to a study by Brazilian researchers in collaboration with colleagues in the UK, Canada and the United States.
The COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Brazil between February and early March.
“In contrast to China and other countries, where the outbreak began slowly with a small number of cases, it began in Brazil by more than 300 people, most of whom came from Italy. The virus spread very quickly as a result,” said Ester Sabino, one of the authors of the study. Sabino is a professor at the São Paulo University School of Medicine (FM-USP) and chaired the university’s Institute of Tropical Medicine (IMT-USP) between 2015 and 2019.
Most of these people came from Italy to the city of São Paulo, where the first cases of the disease in Brazil were notified, but some went to other destinations, including Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Salvador, Curitiba, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Recife, Vitória and Florianópolis, contribute to the spread of disease nationally.
This research was supported by São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP under the protection of the Brazilian-English (English-Brazilian) Center for Discovery, Diagnosis, Genomics, and Epidemiology. CADDE). The results are reported in an article was published in Journal of Travel Medicine.
Researchers estimate that 54.8% of all COVID-19 cases imported into Brazil on March 5 came from infected people in Italy, followed by passengers flying from China (9.3%) and France (8.3%) .
They also estimated that 24.9% of all infected people who flew to Brazil during the period traveled from Italy to São Paulo, and that Italy was the start of five of the ten main routes for infected travelers who came to Brazil (via China , France, Switzerland, South Korea and Spain).
To identify the main routes for importing COVID-19 into Brazil, the researchers analyzed February-March 2020 data for passengers traveling to any Brazilian airport from 29 countries with confirmed cases of the disease.
They estimate the proportion of infected tourists who have the potential to arrive in Brazilian cities from each country and for each route based on the total number of passengers flying to any Brazilian airport during this period, the country’s population and the number of cases notified by these countries on March 5, 2020.
The estimate is corroborated by official Brazilian Ministry of Health data on reported cases, showing that 14 of the first 29 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Brazil had just been to Italy. Six of them (23.1%) were told in Sao Paulo.
“It is very clear that São Paulo will be the epicenter of the epidemic in Brazil because that is the final destination for the largest number of people infected mainly from Italy,” Sabino said.
Focus on internal mobility
According to Sabino, who led genome sequencing from the coronavirus isolated from the first two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil, ongoing community transmission of the disease is now in force and the authorities must focus on limiting internal mobility to overcome the epidemic.
This means limiting the mobility of the population of Sao Paulo, where most of the confirmed cases in Brazil have been notified.
“São Paulo and to a lesser extent, Rio de Janeiro will be the center of the spread of the virus throughout the country, so people must be prevented from leaving these two cities,” he said.
Continuation of sequencing
Researchers led by Sabino went on to rank SARS-CoV-2 isolated from Brazil diagnosed with COVID-19. At one point they had to stop because some of their members were considered to have been infected.
“We have to close the laboratory, but we are going back now and will analyze whether we can order a larger number of viral genomes,” Sabino said.
The speed with which the disease has spread throughout Brazil has disrupted the group’s plans. “Transmission of the virus takes place so quickly that sequencing data cannot help us understand how the epidemic spreads as we planned,” Sabino said.
Researchers hope to be able to sort the virus when sporadic cases of the disease are told to track the path of transmission and contribute to the design of a containment strategy, but the number of cases that arrive at the laboratory turns out to be the same. too high.
“It is not possible to control the epidemic simply by sequencing. The spread is very fast, and we can no longer track all cases,” Sabino said.
The number of genomes ordered worldwide from infected patients is nearly 800. This sequence is being published, and can be used for research on primary resistance to help develop promising antiviral drugs against viruses, Sabino explained.
“When a drug candidate is found, a virus genome sequence database will definitely be useful for this purpose,” he said.
About the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)
The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is a public institution with a mission of supporting scientific research in all fields of knowledge by providing scholarships, scholarships and grants to investigators related to higher education and research institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. FAPESP realizes that the best research can only be done in collaboration with the best international researchers. Therefore, he has built partnerships with funding institutions, higher education, private companies, and research organizations in other countries known for the quality of their research and has encouraged scientists who are funded by his grant to further develop their international collaboration. You can learn more about FAPESP at http: // www.
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