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Warning: One Of The New COVID Strains Has A High Reinfection Capacity

A study shows how it is affecting people who have already had the disease

Half a face of a woman wearing a mask
This new COVID strain has a high capacity of reinfection | iStock

For weeks now, one of the major efforts being made by the different countries is to try to control the impact of the new coronavirus strains. For this reason, strong measures are being taken, as some countries have done by forbidding the arrival of passengers from countries such as Brazil or South Africa.

Specifically, the Brazilian variant is the one that right now is the focus of much of the concerns of health experts,  epidemiologists and virologists from all over the world. The data coming from the South American country are not at all flattering, seeing how, although months go by, it is still among the countries with the highest number of infections, not only in total, due to its large size, but also in percentage terms. 

That is why studies have multiplied in that country to analyze in depth the characteristics of the strain that has emerged in that country, known as B.1. The reality shown by the first results of research carried out by experts from both Brazilian and British universities would show that there is reason for concern. This is despite the fact that good news seems to be coming in about other variants, such as the South African one. 

This new variant is not only proving to be more capable of transmission (at least 10 times more than the common variant) but has also increased its capacity to re-infect people who had initially overcome the disease and had antibodies.  One of the researchers who carried out the study, Ester Sabino, professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sao Paulo, summed up the danger of this strain in a few words: "It probably does all three things at the same time: it is more transmissible, invades the immune system more and must probably be more pathogenic". 

A high percentage of reinfection capacity

The study has attempted to analyze the contagious capacity of this new variant that emerged in the middle of the Amazonian area of Brazil. The results are conclusive, and it is estimated that it is between 1.4 and 2.2 times more contagious than any of those that have been detected so far. They conclude that this could be the main reason why the South American country has not yet been able to overcome a second wave, as it has had high numbers of contagions and deaths from COVID since last summer. 

In addition, the scientists behind the research insist that this strain has the ability to bypass our immune system more effectively than any other strain. They explain that its ability to infect people who already had the virus is between 25% and 61%. "Too many cases cannot be explained except by the loss of immunity," explained Sabino, co-lead author of the research together with researcher Nuno Faria from Oxford University. 

Over 180 samples analyzed

This research still has preliminary results and is pending evaluation by other experts before being published in scientific reviews. To carry it out, they have used a mathematical model developed by Imperial College London. It has analyzed 184 genomes of the virus, extracted from patients via the nasopharyngeal passage. Specifically, they analyzed samples collected in a laboratory in Manaus between November 2020 and January 2021. 

It should be recalled that this city in the Brazilian Amazon has been confirmed as the origin of this new variant. A large part of the infections, admissions and deaths in Brazil during the first and second waves have been centralized there. 

[This is a translation of the original article "Advierten de la gran capacidad de reinfección de una de la nuevas cepas de covid" published in espanadiario.net]