The new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus mutation called Manaus variant or P1 It has been spreading at a frantic rate for several weeks throughout Latin America, causing more infections and deaths.
Scientists had detected this new lineage of the coronavirus variant on December 4, which put all epidemiological systems in the region and the world on alert. “Based on scattering, modeling and detection, P1 generates a greater number of infections: it would be up to 2.4 times more transmissible than the virus that was circulating. The other flank is the immune escape. People who have already had COVID-19 are at higher risk of getting infected again due to the circulation of P1, ”Dr. Humberto Debat, a virology researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) in the province of Córdoba, told Infobae, citing a scientific study that shows that the P1 lineage increases the risk of reinfection by between 25 and 60%.
The variant has the N501Y mutation, which is also in the variant native to England. That mutation can allow the virus to spread more easily. P1 also carries another mutation called E484K, which could allow it to resist antibodies raised against earlier forms of the virus. Likewise, scientists continue to investigate the capabilities of P1.
“Currently there are three variants of concern, according to the WHO. The South African variant, the Manaus variant and the England variant. The one from South Africa is not yet present in patients from Argentina. The other two have been detected in the country, “he told Infobae the genomics researcher at the ANLIS / Malbrán Institute, Dr. Josefina Campos. “P1 is associated with greater transmissibility and cases of reinfection,” he added.
A few days ago, Michael Ryan, director of emergencies of the World Health Organization (WHO), He stated that “the situation in Brazil has worsened, with a very high incidence of cases and an increase in incidents of death throughout the country.” Y recognized the concern that exists at the international level “regarding the increased transmissibility and lethality “ of the Brazilian strain that, according to preliminary data from some studies obtained by the UN, it can be up to two times more contagious than the original variant of the coronavirus.
The concern of the governments of the region grows along with the infections caused by the new strain. For this reason, yesterday several educational and health institutions in Uruguay published a letter where express their deepest concern about the serious current situation of exponential and uncontrollable increase in cases. For this reason, they asked the Uruguayan government authorities to “profoundly reduce mobility for at least 3 weeks, in all non-essential areas. Tend to telework in all private and public places where possible and virtual education for a period of 3 weeks (primary, secondary and tertiary).
The Medical Union of Uruguay, the Faculties of Medicine and Nursing, the Pasteur Institute and several medical societies such as those of Pediatrics, Internal Medicine and Nephrology, among several others, also requested that the sanitary measures be accompanied by economic measures that assist the population in greater situation vulnerability and that directly affected by suspension of its activity. They imply a deepening of mass vaccination and continue with the improvement of the scheduling systems. Improve the accessibility and speed of test processing throughout the population, an issue that has been affected by high demand in recent weeks, and knowing that testing was key in controlling the pandemic in 2020.
“Given the seriousness of the situation, we urge the population not to hold meetings, avoid crowds and reduce non-essential mobility as much as possible,” they finally asked society as a way to avoid the infections that yesterday recorded a record of 2,700 infections in a single day and 19 deaths, bringing the total to 84,230 and 811 respectively. Shortly before the report, it was confirmed that the presence of the Brazilian strain in seven departments.
Uruguay confirmed this Monday the presence of the Brazilian variant of covid-19 in seven departments (provinces). According to executive sources, this would explain the progressive increase in covid-19 cases in the country, which is facing a re-outbreak of the first wave, with several days above 1,500 cases per day.
The experts had suspicions about the presence in Uruguay of the Brazilian variant, coming from Manaus, and even in recent days the Minister of Health himself, Daniel salinasHe commented that “there is a strain that has been mutating and that is P1”, while acknowledging that it was “a new challenge” for his country.
In Argentina, days ago, about 50 scientists put into circulation a letter to ask the authorities for the temporary closure of borders and prevent, or at least delay, the advance of the COVID-19 strain that emerged in Manaus and wreaked havoc throughout Brazil. The referents of different areas that added their signature to a list that grows consider that the reduction of flights is not enough and ask for measures also at land borders and strict quarantines for those returning from outbreak sites. If that strain begins to spread, they warn, “it may be like starting a pandemic from scratch and possibly worse.”
On Monday, Daniel Gollán, Minister of Health of the province of Buenos Aires, warned in a radio interview that “if the growth of cases is consolidated it is because we are already entering the second wave.” “The difference will be in seeing our ability to take good care of ourselves and to vaccinate in this month and a half as quickly as possible, but we are already in a second wave. It is a great challenge ”, explained the head of the sanitary portfolio. Yesterday Argentina registered more than 6400 infections.
Another of the Latin American countries that suffers the most from the COVID-19 pandemic is Peru, which over the weekend exceeded 50,000 deaths, at a time when the country is going through a second wave of the pandemic with an increase in deaths and infections that has hospitals on the brink of collapse.
The total number of deaths increased to 50,085, with 188 deaths in the last 24 hours, while the accumulated number of infections was 1,460,779, with 9,134 new confirmed cases, according to the daily balance of the Ministry of Health. Among the deceased there are at least 398 doctors, 520 police officers and 135 journalists, according to unions and authorities.
The new onslaught of Coronavirus has hit the South American country since January, after a first wave that reached its peak in August 2020 with averages of 200 daily deaths. The hospitals are again saturated and without free beds in the Intensive Care Units (ICU). This weekend, the country registered almost 15,000 people hospitalized.
Meanwhile, vaccination against COVID-19 has advanced at a slow pace since it began on February 9, due to the lack of doses whose acquisition is negotiated by the government. Just 188,000 people received both doses of the vaccine as of March 18, according to health authorities who hope to immunize 26 million Peruvians during 2021, out of a population of about 32 million.
Another South American country that recorded record numbers of infections this weekend was Chile, with more than 7,000 on Saturday.
Despite the successful vaccination campaign, which reached 5.5 million inoculated people, the South American country continues to suffer the effects of the pandemic by accumulating 925,089 infections and 22,180 deaths.
“We have seen a large increase in cases in recent weeks and this is of great concern to us. New communes entered quarantine as a preventive measure “, affirmed the Undersecretary of Health, Paula Daza. With the 24 neighborhoods of the country that entered this Saturday in total quarantine, almost 9 of the 19 million inhabitants of the country became confined, including big cities like Concepción, Valparaíso, La Serena and the center of Santiago.
Finally, Brazil, the country where the new contagious mutation of the new coronavirus was born, is suffering a record of infections and deaths from COVID-19 for several weeks.
The Intensive Care Units of 25 of the 27 states have an occupancy rate equal to or greater than 80% and in 15 states they are already at 90%. To date, the country accumulates more than 12 million positives and 295,000 deaths from COVID-19. In five days of the last week, it added more than 2,400 daily deaths associated with the disease and the forecasts do not point to an improvement in the short term, rather the opposite. They also registered the record of 90,000 infections in a single day.
In Sao Paulo, the worst hit Brazilian city in absolute numbers, with almost 600,000 positives and more than 20,000 deaths, a dozen patients were transferred this weekend to another hospital due to a delay in the delivery of oxygen cylinders by the responsible company.
The vaccination campaign continues at a slow pace in this continental-sized country, with 212 million inhabitants and that has always been an example in successfully completing its immunization programs.