Researchers at the Butantan Biological Institute detected São Paulo state’s first cases of a new coronavirus variant first encountered in Switzerland. The discovery highlights a concern health experts have expressed for months: with Brazil’s slow vaccine rollout and uncontrolled transmission, the country risks becoming a veritable petri dish for new variants.
Researchers believe that between 60 and 100 variants are already circulating in the country, most of which remain unidentified.
Butantan also confirmed a new case of the South African variant. Unlike the Swiss mutation, the South African variant is of particular concern to experts, as it is proven to be more transmissible. The effects of vaccines on these coronavirus mutations remain uncertain.