The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced today that the Brazilian variant of Covid-19 has been detected in some arriving international travellers. A spokesperson was quick to confirm that the strain had been detected only in state quarantine, and not at all in local communities and that the infection had been immediately contained. The patients have been said to have been properly treated already, but the announcement did not verify if it was the highly contagious P.1. variant of Covid-19.
The dangerous P.1. variant was first found in the Amazonian capital of Manaus and is suspected to have originated around November of 2020. Researchers found it to be 1.7 to 2.4 times more transmissible and 1.2 to 1.9 times more deadly than previous coronavirus strains, though extenuating factors may have influenced the statistics.
The Brazilian strain is troublesome because it’s possible that it could reinfect people who had previous strains of Covid-19 or even those that have been vaccinated already. Researchers were unsure if the variant was more powerful because of an increased viral load or because it remains in the body longer. They identified 17 mutations including three spike protein mutations that seem to let the virus attach more closely to human cells and possibly avoid antibody. There was evidence that immune responses to prior strains would be ineffective against the P.1. variant.
The CCSA reassured the people of Thailand that there is no indication that this dangerous strain has spread beyond the quarantine into Thailand at all, where current outbreaks have 343 people on ventilators and 1,042 people in critical condition out of over 30,000 people currently hospitalized with Covid-19.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World
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