Scientists detect new strain of coronavirus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Experts say they have no evidence that this mutation poses a greater danger. However, it shows that Covid-19 is sweeping across the region.
A group of researchers discovered a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, responsible for the coronavirus, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, one of the areas most affected by the pandemic in Brazil , scientific sources announced this Tuesday.
According to an investigation by the Scientific Computing Laboratory (LNCC), linked to the Ministry of Science and Technology and carried out in collaboration with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the new strain was identified for the first time last October in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The study does not indicate whether the new strain is more contagious or aggressive, only its finding is disclosed. At the moment there have been no indications that the strains of Sars-CoV-2 that are appearing in the world reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines that are beginning to be distributed and applied, the specialists emphasize.
According to the researchers, for now the new strain is ´partially restricted´ to the city, which groups the largest number of cases and deaths due to Covid-19. However, they warned of a possible spread across the state and as a consequence in other regions of the country.
"The significant increase in the frequency of this lineage raises concerns about public health management and the need for genomic surveillance during the second wave of infections," indicated the scientists in the study, prepared under the coordination of researcher Ana Tereza Vasconcelos .
How was the new variant discovered?
By means of genetic sequencing of the B.1.1.28 lineage that has already been touring Brazil since the beginning of the year, it is estimated that the strain has sprouted in July. Among the experts' findings, 180 SARS-CoV-2 genomes were analyzed and five unique emerging mutations were found that have spread rapidly.
It should be noted that, throughout the country, which has an approximate population of 210 million people, Covid-19 has left more than 187,000 deaths and 7.2 million infections. In recent times, Brazil has experienced an outbreak of the disease, which forced several regions and municipalities to strengthen prevention measures, in order to avoid a greater number of infections.