New coronavirus variant found in São Paulo

variant New coronavirus strain found in São Paulo
Photo: Oleg Elkov/Shutterstock

São Paulo health authorities have confirmed Brazil’s first two cases of the new, more contagious coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom. One of the two patients is a 25-year-old woman who had contact with people who recently traveled through the United Kingdom. The other, a 34-year-old man, was in contact with the woman.

Doctors are still running an epidemiological investigation into both cases and have yet to release any further details on their current conditions. The virus’ genetic sequence was shared with experts by way of a worldwide database.

The so-called B.1.1.7 strain was first spotted in September in southeastern England and accounted for 60 percent of new cases in London by December. The “British variant” has several mutations that affect the spike protein on the virus surface that attaches to human cells. “It’s able to bind to the receptors on cells better, and therefore is transmitted better,” said Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert in the U.S.

Support this coverage →Support this coverage →