Sunday, April 18, 2021

Scientists discover possible new strain of the virus in Brazil


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Alissa Eckert / CDC

SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19

The discovery was made by scientists from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), from the Hermes Pardini hospital group, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and from the city of Belo Horizontes, state capital of Minas Gerais.

“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, featuring a possible new variant of SARS-CoV-2 ″, UFMG indicated in a statement sent to the agency Lusa.

These two new 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”, adds the text .

According to the note, among the mutations found in this new strain are some shared with the Brazilian P1 variants (detected in Manaus) and P2 (found in Rio de Janeiro), with the South African B.1.1.351 and the British B.1.1.7., all associated with greater transmission of the virus.

However, experts are still investigating whether this new variant has greater transmissibility or whether it causes more severe clinical conditions in infected patients.

“It is worth noting that the N501Y mutation, present in strains P.1 and B.1.1.7, was recently associated with an increase of approximately 60% in the risk of mortality in infected individuals in the United Kingdom”, stressed the University of Minas Gerais.

All study data will be made available in national and international public databases, and will subsequently be submitted to scientific journals.

“The results of the investigation require 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 variants of SARS-CoV-2 ″, the statement concludes.

Minas Gerais, the second Brazilian state with the most infections by the new coronavirus, today registered 508 deaths due to covid-19, a record number since the beginning of the pandemic. To date, Minas Gerais has totaled 26,303 lives lost to the new coronavirus and 1,182,847 infected by Sars-CoV-2.

Brazil, on the other hand, most critical moment in the pandemic with successive records of deaths and cases, it totals 336,947 deaths and 13,100,580 infection diagnoses since the first case was registered in the country, about 13 months ago.

The covid-19 pandemic caused at least 2,874,984 deaths worldwide, resulting from more than 132.3 million cases of infection, according to a report made by the French agency AFP.

Posters identify homes of infected people in Venezuela

The mayor of Sucre, in the state of Yaracuy, Venezuela, ordered the placement of posters identifying the homes of people who tested positive for covid-19, the Venezuelan opposition denounced.

“Today we saw the ‘mayor’ of Sucre, Adrián Duque, pasting papers in the homes of people who may be suffering from the covid-19, when he should take vaccines to all the citizens of that municipality. We see how it violates the right to intimacy and not to be discriminated against ”, denounced Humberto Prado, representative of the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, for the area of ​​human rights.

The complaint was made through a video posted on the social network Twitter where Humberto Prado stressed that the militant of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV, the government party) is still “threatening people to remove the posters that will eliminate their benefit ”To receive“ food grants ”, at prices subsidized by the state.

“We call on international organizations, the office of the High Commissioner [da ONU para os Direitos Humanos, Michelle Bachelet] and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that document this type of attitude and conduct of employees who represent the regime in different entities in the country ”, he wrote.

However, through Twitter, a video was released, showing an individual with a mask, covering his nose and mouth, and who could be the Venezuelan politician, pointing to a poster and explaining that it will be placed “in all houses where there is a patient with covid-19 ”.

On the poster, with a white background with a red circle with a diagonal line in the center, similar to those that indicate a prohibition for car drivers, it is possible to read the message: “Family in preventive quarantine. Visits are not accepted ”.

“Alert therefore. Let us take care of ourselves in health. Awareness is the best vaccine for covid ”, says the individual in the video.

The Venezuelan Public Prosecutor’s Office has already responded to the complaint and announced that it has launched an investigation against the Venezuelan politician and has ordered the posters to be removed.

“Segregation: The Public Ministry opened a criminal investigation against the mayor Luís Adrián Duque, from Yaracuy, who unilaterally and outside the Venezuelan State’s policy to combat the pandemic has macabrely marked the homes of patients suffering from covid-19” , announced the attorney general on his Twitter account.

In the same social network, in another message, Tarek William Saab he explained that the Public Ministry and the Public Prosecutor’s Office “acted together to proceed to remove the unusual notices placed selectively in the homes of these patients”.

According to the Venezuelan Academy of Medicine, the country needs 30 million vaccines for 15 million people, 3.5 million of which for priority personnel.


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