Scientists from Belo Horizonte, in Brazil, detected the combination of 18 mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus never before described, announced this Wednesday, the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). It may be a new variant of the virus.
“The team sequenced 85 genomes of SARS-CoV-2 from clinical samples collected from the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte and identified two new genomes with a collection of mutations not yet described, characterizing a possible new variant of SARS-CoV-2”, he indicated UFMG in a statement sent to the Lusa agency.
The genomes “are in samples collected on February 27 and 28, 2021 and there is no evidence of an epidemiological link between them, such as kinship or residential region, which reinforces the plausibility of circulation of this new possible variant”. Among the mutations found in this new strain are some shared with the Brazilian variants P1 and P2, with the South African B.1.1.351 and with the British B.1.1.7 ..
“It is worth noting that the N501Y mutation, present in the P.1 and B.1.1.7 strains, was recently associated with an increase of approximately 60% in the risk of mortality in infected individuals in the United Kingdom”, reads.
As such, scientists are investigating whether this new variant has greater transmissibility or if it causes more severe symptoms and call for “urgency of genomic surveillance efforts in the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte and the state of Minas Gerais to assess the status of these new SARS variants -CoV-2 “.
The country recorded, this Wednesday, 92,625 more cases of covid-19 – the second highest number since the beginning of the pandemic. A further 3,829 people died, after yesterday the maximum number of deaths was recorded in just 24 hours (4,195).
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Brazilian authorities have reported 13,193,205 cases of contagion and 340,776 people have died from complications associated with the disease. It is the second country in the world most affected by the pandemic, after the United States of America.