The work was led by scientists Institute of Tropical Medicine of the Medical School of USP and had the support of researchers from the Adolfo Lutz Institute and the University of Oxford, who participate in a project called Cadde, supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation Paulo (Fapesp) and the Medical Research Centers, from the United Kingdom, to monitor epidemics in real time.
Preliminary analyzes show that the virus identified in Brazil is different due to three mutations of the reference observed in Wuhan, China, the first focus of the epidemic.
Two of these changes bring the virus that arrived in Brazil closer to the one diagnosed in the Bavarian region, in Germany.
According to data released on Sunday, Brazil has 25 confirmed cases of coronavirus, four by local transmission. There are 664 suspected cases and 632 have already been ruled out.
Brazilian researchers were also able to isolate and cultivate in laboratory the new coronavirus obtained in the genetic sequencing of the first Brazilian patients diagnosed with the disease at Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein.
According to information released by the Fapesp news agency, the viruses will be distributed to research groups and public and private clinical laboratories throughout Brazil with the aim of expanding the capacity for carrying out diagnostic tests and advancing studies on how the disease is caused and propagates.
“The availability of samples of this virus grown in cells will allow clinical laboratories to have positive controls to validate the diagnostic tests, in order to ensure that they really work,” said Edison Luiz Durigon, professor at USP and project coordinator.
According to the researcher, the lack of these virus samples to be used as positive controls was one of the factors that limited the diagnosis of the new coronavirus in Brazil.
The COVID-19 epidemic was detected in December in China and has already claimed more than 3,800 deaths.
About 110,000 people have been infected in more than a hundred countries, and more than 62,000 have recovered.
In recent days, Italy has become the most serious case of an epidemic outside China, with 366 dead and more than 7,300 infected by the new coronavirus, which can cause respiratory infections like pneumonia.
To try to stem the epidemic, the government of Rome has quarantined some 16 million people in the north of the country, affecting cities like Milan, Venice or Parma.
Portugal registers 30 confirmed cases of infection, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), released on Sunday.