According to scientists, there is a determining factor in the country that favors the appearance of mutations that could escape the effectiveness of vaccines
With the advance of the Amazon variant of the coronavirus In almost all of Brazil, responsible for the second wave that collapsed the hospital system, that country is experiencing a very worrying situation, with days of protests against quarantine, chaos and lines of people desperate for a vaccine in Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, while São Paulo announced a “war” operation and summoned volunteers to help the doctors.
This is the current scenario in Brazil, which combines the beginning of the vaccination with uncontrolled transmission of Covid-19, which could turn the country into a ” factory ” of variants potentially capable of escaping the efficacy of vaccines entirely.
This was evaluated by a group of British scientists who are involved in some of the main research on the coronavirus mutations.
Researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Leicester argue that lockdowns and other containment measures are especially necessary during population vaccination.
It is precisely the contact between vaccinated individuals and variants that favors the appearance of “super powerful” mutations, capable of totally circumventing the action of immunization
In the neighboring country, there is an explosive combination for this to happen: on the one hand, the vaccination still marches at a slow pace while, on the other, there is a variant with the E484k mutation (which avoids antibodies) and there are high rates of infection.
In Rio de Janeiro the night curfew began
Now the greatest danger is in the contact of the Manaus variant (P.1), with recently vaccinated people, they point out from the University of Leicester, in the United Kingdom.
In this way, by entering the human cell and encountering a still small amount of vaccine antibodies, the variant, by replicating, can promote mutations that are more resistant to those antibodies.
Coronavirus: 5 facts you should know about the Brazilian strain
As if the coronavirus and all that it caused were not enough, now there are also new variants. These are viruses that make people sick in different parts of the world and that have small differences with the original strain of the coronavirus, which came from China to Europe and then began to spread to the rest of the planet.
One of these new strains was detected in Brazil and it has already started to appear in other countries. The experts they have already begun to study this new variant, which they believe could be more contagious and could even make people who had Covid-19.
Manaus was the city most affected by this new strain, known as variant P.1. Experts have begun to study the case of the city in northern Brazil with the aim of knowing more about it and preventing its expansion.
Probability of reinfection
A preliminary study carried out in the United Kingdom – where some cases of the Brazilian strain have been detected – places the probability of reinfection with the new variant between the 25% and 60%.
One of the study’s authors stated that P.1 was unlikely to spread rapidly in the UK when only six cases had been detected and were being closely monitored.
“It takes many introductions (of a virus) to start an epidemic. Six are very few. I would say that if these individuals are monitored and contacts are traced, the cases will decrease,” said Professor Ester Sabino, a disease researcher. infectious diseases at the University of São Paulo in Brazil.
The Brazilian strain has a probability of reinfection that is between 25 and 60%
When and where the new strain of coronavirus emerged
Researchers have been tracking the coronavirus in Brazil for almost a year. Manaus, Like many other locations in the world, it encountered a large first wave in the spring (of the northern hemisphere) in 2020.
Many people were infected with the original version of the virus at the time, and the results of blood tests suggested that up to three-quarters of the population of Manaus obtained some degree of protection or immunity due to this exposure.
Despite this, Manaus was seriously affected by another wave of coronavirus.
The team of researchers from Brazil and from Imperial College London studied the genetic makeup of the coronavirus in some of the patients infected in Manaus between November and December, in addition to modeling the results of the pandemic.
The researchers stated that the variant P.1 It probably emerged in early November, spread rapidly to become dominant, and caused many reinfections.
The data is preliminary, but it fits what other experts suspect: that some of these new coronavirus variants the world is seeing are more contagious and aggressive and they can evade part of the immunity generated by a previous covid infection.
Can it affect the effectiveness of vaccines?
This calls into question the vaccine efficacy, which were designed around earlier versions of the virus. At the same time, it allows doubting the measures that countries have begun to take, which are gradually relaxing security and care measures.
Experts have already started work to redesign or adjust vaccines so that they are better suited to some of these new “worrisome variants”. However, the vaccines that exist so far should provide some protection, particularly against severe symptoms, but it is not yet known whether this will actually be the case.
Is it necessary to wear a special chinstrap to protect yourself?
The data available to date suggest that the strain B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, and the strain first identified in South Africa – variant 501.V2 or B.1.351 – are between a 50% and 74% more contagious than other dominant strains. This was explained by the site Live Science.
Given the high contagion of these new strains of the coronavirus, the question arises about the chinstraps, since it could be thought that this characteristic makes the masks that were used until now less efficient. Although the Brazilian strain has not been specifically studied in this regard, it is believed to be more contagious than the original and it is believed that more efficient protection might be necessary.
Thus, since these strains are more transmissible than the previous ones, experts have recommended doubling andl use of masks or chinstraps. What does this mean? As mentioned above, it is advisable to wear one mask on top of the other. This was reported by The New York Times newspaper. As the experts explained to the New York newspaper, the cloth mask improves the fit of the surgical barbiji, while the surgical option acts as an additional filter.