Researchers from Brazil’s public health institute Fiocruz discovered that the local P1 variant has mutated to become 2.5 times more contagious than the original strain and more resistant to antibodies.
The Fiocruz researchers found the mutations in the spike region of the virus which show that the virus is capable of evading the response of antibodies.
The P1 variant was blamed for Brazil’s second wave which affected even younger people in the population and increased the national death toll to more than 350,0000.
“In the first wave, we saw mainly older people. But this is not what we’re seeing now,” explained Sao Paulo Health Secretary Jean Gorinchteyn.
Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, a Professor of Neuroscience at Duke University’s School of Medicine echoed that the strain is more transmissible from person to person.
“Because if Brazil is out of control, the world will be out of control in a few weeks. Because variants that are brewing here every day, every week… they will escape,” warned Nicolelis.
Brazil’s Health Ministry said almost 3% of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated so far.
Aside from Brazil, the P1 variant has reached Canada where 1,813 cases were reported so far.
The National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases said Canada first detected the P1 strain in Ontario which was was linked to international travel from Brazil and detected it in British Columbia on March 9 which quickly spread.
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