Sunday, 09 May, 2021


Brazilian coronavirus variant found in five states IS more contagious

A healthcare worker places a completed Covid-19 nasal swab into a test tube A healthcare worker places a completed Covid-19 nasal swab into a test tube
Bennie Garza | 03 March, 2021, 20:48

The P1 variant, which was first detected in the northern Brazilian city of Manaus in December, is thought to be similar to the so-called South African strain and responds less well to current vaccines.

Prof Sharon Peacock, the director of COG-UK, which is monitoring the emergence of new variants for the Government, said: "The key thing about vaccination is that the majority of disease in the UK is caused by the UK variant, which we can vaccinate against using the vaccines that we have available to us at the moment".

Between 25% and 61% of people who have previously had Covid are susceptible to reinfection from the worrying Brazilian variant of concern, research from the city it originated in has suggested.

The Scottish government said three residents who returned to north-east Scotland from Brazil, via Paris and London, subsequently tested positive for the Manaus variant of COVID-19.

She said: "The variant identified yesterday is sometimes known as the Brazilian variant of concern, or P1 - because it is associated with the resurgence of cases that has been seen in Brazil".

However, the identity of one remained unknown because the individual had not completed their test registration card.

No studies have tested the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against the P1 variant, while Moderna and Pfizer say their mRNA coronavirus vaccines should work against variants with the E484K mutation, with early results showing that these vaccines are only slightly less effective against the P1 variant.

"I want to stress that there is now no reason to believe that the P1 variant of the virus is in circulation in Scotland, however, I hope this summary reassures you that we are doing everything we can and everything necessary to check whether this variant of the virus could have been transmitted within Scotland and to identify and break any possible chains of transmission".

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the detection of the variant in the United Kingdom was "deeply concerning". The study's analysts, on the other hand, urged us to keep the data in context.

The minister also sought to defend the UK's border controls, following accusations the Government has been slow to implement hotel quarantine measures.

"We owe you an enormous debt of gratitude".

Elsewhere, Graham Medley, professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a current member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said it was "inevitable" that new variants would come into the country via travel.

'We then looked at how rapidly P.1 overtook other lineages, and we found that the proportion of P.1 grew from zero to 87 percent in about eight weeks'.

The cases in Scotland are not thought to be connected to the cases on England.

Asked about how anxious people should be about the Brazilian variant, he said: "Somewhat anxious, but not total panic, perhaps". Epidemiological modeling and sample viral loads from patients indicate that the variant is more transmissible than the variant that gripped much of the world in 2020 and could be linked to worse outcomes and an increased likelihood of surpassing immunity from a past SARS-CoV-2 infection.

"But unfortunately it's something that we've been quite complacent about; now we're just seeing the consequences of that".

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