March 2. The Brazil coronavirus variant now found in the UK appears more contagious and may evade immunity provided by past infection, scientists say.
Evidence from Manaus – the Amazonian city hit hard by the P.1 variant – suggest it could be up to twice as transmissible as earlier Coved there, the first detailed study suggests.
The preliminary work puts the chance of reinfection at between 25% and 60%.
One of the lead researchers said it was unlikely P.1 would quickly take off in Britain when only six cases had been identified and these were being closely monitored. The scientist is part of the research team from Brazil and the Imperial College London that has been studying the genetic makeup of coronavirus and modeling pandemic outcomes. The consensus is that the P.1 variant probably emerged in early November, dominated and spread quickly, and caused many reinfections.
Work is already under way to redesign or tweak the vaccines to make them a better match for some of these new “variants of concern”, although existing ones should still provide some protection, particularly against severe disease.
Photo: TBS News