Brazilian scientists have discovered a new type of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which has a combination of mutations characteristic of previously identified strains that are more dangerous than the original virus. It was reported on Wednesday by the Globo newspaper.
According to the publication, found in the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, a type of infection has 18 mutations at once. Some of them are characteristic of the British and South African strains, as well as for two other Brazilian strains from Manaus and Rio de Janeiro. All four of these strains, scientists believe, are more infectious than the original virus from Wuhan, China, and it is with them that repeated peaks of infections and a worsening of the epidemiological situation in different countries of the world are associated.
It is noted that such a combination of mutations of the new type of coronavirus has not been previously described in any of the scientific works. Scientists at the University of Minas Gerais, who have identified a new type of virus, cannot yet unequivocally answer the question of whether it is more dangerous, but it is with it, they believe, that the outbreak of COVID-19 in the region in recent weeks is associated. As the research coordinator Renato Santana told the publication, the new strain was found in 2 of the 85 genomes they studied.
The first case of coronavirus infection in Brazil was confirmed on February 26 last year. On March 12, 2021, the country again took second place after the United States in terms of the number of cases (over 13.1 million at the moment), ahead of India in this indicator. In terms of the number of deaths (about 337 thousand), it is also second only to the United States. Since the beginning of March, scientists have noted a sharp deterioration in the epidemic situation with the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country, which has not been observed even once since the beginning of the pandemic. Over the past week, 463,235 new cases of infection and 19,643 deaths were recorded.