Brazilian COVID-19 Variant Found to be More Transmissible

May 4, 2021
Killian Meara

Killian Meara, assistant editor for ContagionLive, joined the MJH Life Sciences team in November 2020. He graduated from William Paterson University with a degree in liberal studies, and concentrations in history and psychology. He enjoys film, reading, and pretending he is a good cook. Follow him on Twitter @krmeara or email him at [email protected]

The novel variant was found to be 1.7 to 2.4 times more transmissible and can evade 10% to 46% of gained immunity.

A recent study conducted by investigators from Brazil, the United Kingdom and the University of Copenhagen has found that the COVID-19 variant P.1, which originated in Brazil, is more transmissible than the original virus and is able to evade immunity.

Results from the study were published in the journal Science.

The city of Manaus is currently experiencing a deadly second wave of the pandemic, and many investigators believe that the novel variant is the driving force behind it.

“Our main explanation is that there is an aggressive variant of the coronavirus called P.1 which seems be the cause of their problems,” Samir Bhatt, a corresponding author on the study said. “Our epidemiological model indicates that P.1 is likely to be more transmissible than previous strains of coronavirus and likely to be able to evade immunity gained from infection with other strains.”

For the study, the team of investigators employed many different forms of data from the city, including 184 samples of genetic sequencing data and mortality counts, in order to characterize the P.1 variant and its properties.

They then used an epidemiological model to estimate just how transmissible the variant was, and also estimated how it could evade immunity gained from a previous COVID-19 infection.

Findings from the study demonstrated that the P.1 variant is likely to be between 1.7 and 2.4 times more transmissible that other lineages of the virus. They also determined that P.1 is able to evade 10% to 46% of immunity gained from a previous infection.

“As researchers, we have to caution extrapolating these results to be applicable anywhere else in the world,” Bhatt said. “However, our results do underline the fact that more surveillance of the infections and of the different strains of the virus is needed in many countries in order to get the pandemic fully under control.”