The new strain of the coronavirus identified in infected patients in the city of Manaus (Amazonas) is expected to soon become the dominant strain in Brazil. Who confirms is Fiocruz’s infectologist Amazônia Marcus Lacerda, in an interview with O Globo this Friday (29).
Named P.1, it was found in 91% of virus samples sequenced in the state in January and is pointed out by scientists monitoring the pandemic in the region that it is responsible for ending the collective immunity raised in the capital existed, resulting in another explosion of covid-19 cases in early 2021.
According to Lacerda, the P.1 variant of Sars-CoV-2 is likely already present in other regions of Brazil – three cases were identified in São Paulo last Wednesday (29). It’s a “matter of time” to get the better of the other known strains of the virus, something like “a month,” the expert predicts.
Recently identified by Japanese researchers when analyzing samples from travelers who were in northern Brazil, the new strain shows mutations in the spike protein region and there is evidence that it has a greater transmission capacity. Nevertheless, the precautions to avoid contamination are the same as those already known.
Possibility of “mega epidemic”
In an interview with the Manhattan Connection program on TV Cultura, former Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta stated that the coronavirus variant that emerged in Manaus could cause a mega-epidemic in Brazil within 60 days.
For him, the lack of measures to prevent the spread of P.1, coupled with the transfer of patients to other states without any kind of biosafety block, will spread tension across the country.
Even if he agrees with the gravity of the situation, Lacerda has reservations. According to the specialist, those who spread the viruses are travelers who do not adhere to the isolation or take control measures.