A newly identified variant of COVID is already confirmed in about half of all new infections in Manaus, Brazil, which raises alarm about a greater risk of spread, a researcher warns on Friday.
A team led by immunologist Ester Sabino collected genomic data from COVID-19 tests in Manaus that indicated 42% of the confirmed cases were infected by the new variant, which has mutations similar to the British and South African variants.
"That was the frequency that appeared in our December data. We are finishing January now and it is increasing," said Sabino, a University of Sao Paulo professor whose team's preliminary results have been published on the Virological.org forum.
She said it was quite likely the new Brazilian variant is more transmissible than the current dominant strain, although it has not been proven definitively, because it has mutations shown to have that effect in other variants.
More at Reuters.