According to the latest statistics surrounding COVID-19 in the Philippines, the country’s total number of cases has already reached a whopping 578,000. Still, many hopeful for better days given that vaccines are already being distributed in the country, and more are in the trial phase already.
However, despite the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine, there is one more problem the world has to face during this pandemic: the new strains. (Read: New COVID-19 Variants: Here’s What You Need to Know)
As previously reported by health experts, several strains of SARS-COV2 (the virus responsible for COVID-19) have been found in different portions of the globe— there’s the UK, South Africa, and Nigeria variant, among others, that have been found to be more infectious than the original strain.
And now, scientists are alarmed over another variant that recently surfaced and allegedly came from Brazil.
Brazil COVID-19 Variant
According to a study by the São Paulo and Oxford Universities, the Brazil variant was said to have emerged sometime around November 2020, and tallied its first infection in the following month. The variant, known as the P.1 COVID-19 variant, is said to have spread in Manaus, a jungle city in the country.
According to experts who are looking into its origins and emergence, the P.1 variant had a “unique constellation of mutations.” What is more alarming is that in the succeeding eight weeks, the Brazil variant “overtook” the other variants and became the dominant strain in the area.
In fact, according to research, the variant’s infection proportion grew from zero to 87% in just those eight weeks. (Read: ‘Children May Be Supercarriers of COVID-19 UK Variant’ – Experts)
A Contagious Variant
The study, though not yet peer-reviewed, also found that some of their subjects who had previously been infected with COVID-19 and recovered were re-infected by the P.1 variant. (Read: More Animals Get Infected as New COVID-19 Variants Arise)
Out of 100 subjects, the researchers found that “somewhere between 25 and 61 of them are susceptible to re-infection with P.1,” according to Imperial College London’s Nuno Faria, a virus expert and co-lead researcher in the study.
“There’s no concluding evidence really to suggest at this point that the current vaccines won’t work against P.1,” he added, “I think it [vaccines] will at least protect us against disease, and possibly also against infection.”