The Brazilian variant of covid-19, baptized as P.1, could have a viral load up to ten times higher and it is capable of evading the immune system of those people who already had antibodies against the coronavirus, according to two preliminary studies carried out by Brazilian and English researchers.
“It probably does all three at the same time: it is more transmissible, it invades the immune system more and probably must be more pathogenic “, Ester Sabino, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and coordinator of the USP group that participated in the research carried out by the Brazil-United Kingdom Center for Discovery and Diagnosis, told Efe on Monday. of Abrovirus (CADDE).
The preliminary study, published last Friday, suggests that the new variant native to the state of Amazonas is between 1.4 and 2.2 times more transmissible than those that precede it and “probably” is one of the factors behind the second wave of the coronavirus in Brazil.
The scientists further concluded that the new strain is capable of evading the immune system and causing a new infection in part of already infected individuals by SARS-CoV-2, specifically between 25% and 61%.
“You cannot explain so many cases except for the loss of immunity “, highlighted Sabino, who coordinated the study together with researcher Nuno Faria, from the University of Oxford.
The case of Manaus
The preliminary study, based on a mathematical model carried out by Imperial College London, is based on the genome analysis of 184 samples of nasopharyngeal secretion from patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in a Manaus laboratory between November 2020 and January 2021.
The capital of the state of Amazonas has been the epicenter of the pandemic in Brazil in both the first and second waves of the coronavirus and is experiencing a sanitary collapse since the end of last year due to the explosion of cases and income from covid-19.
The investigation, which was supported by the São Paulo State Research Amparo Foundation (Fapesp), has not been reviewed yet by other scientists or published in scientific journals, but is available on-line.
Likewise, another study also released last Friday by researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation of the Amazon region indicates that the viral load in the body of individuals infected with P.1 can be up to ten times greater.
Brazil, one of the countries most affected by the pandemic in the world, accumulates 10,587,001 infections since the first case of the disease was registered, on February 26 of last year, and 255,720 deaths since the first victim was recorded, on March 12, 2020.
Such figures confirm the Latin American giant, with its 210 million inhabitants, as one of the global epicenters of covid-19 and as the second country with the most deaths for the disease in the world, surpassed only by the United States, and as the third with the most infections, behind the North American country and India.