Brazil coronavirus variant is now second most common in the US
The variant, known as P1, now accounts for at least 434 cases of COVID-19 in America, second only to the now-dominant UK variant, which accounts for 19,554 COVID-19 cases, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.
P1 is thought to be more infectious than older variants, but it is not clear by how much.
The variant is dominant in Brazil, where hospital system’s are buckling amid record-breaking daily death tolls.
Brazilians who survived prior Covid infections have been getting infected over again amid the variant’s rise, signaling that the variant may evade antibodies the body produces in response to other strains or those triggered by vaccines.
All three vaccines authorized in the U.S.
– made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – appear effective against the variant, although it somewhat diminishes their potency.
The variant, known as P1 (fuchsia), now accounts for at least 434 cases of COVID-19 in America, second only to the now-dominant UK variant (pink/red)
CDC’s tracker has added hundreds more P1 cases in recent weeks, and its count is inevitably an underestimate as cases of the variant can only be confirmed with laborious genome sequencing.
Tracking from Outbreak.info suggests it now accounts for about one percent of cases in the U.S.
A third ‘variant of concern’ that emerged in South Africa is also becoming more prevalent, with 424 confirmed cases in the U.S. – just 10 fewer cases than have been confirmed of the Brazil variant.
Most cases of the P1 variant are in Massachusetts, Illinois and Florida, which have 102, aboutme 93, and 87 cases, respectively.
The variant is concerning because it contains mutations that make it more adept t hacking into human cells, and because changes to its spike protein weaken antibodies.
That has allowed it to reinfect thousands of people in Brazil, particularly in the hard-hit city of Manaus in the Amazon.
P1’s rise to dominance in Brazil has driven the country to new heights in coronavirus cases and deaths.
Yesterday the country set record for the most deaths in a day with 24 fatalities in a 24 hour period.
Brazil’s health care systems are collapsing under the weight of the pandemic and the virus continues to spread nearly unmitigated there.
The South American nation is now a global concern, because scientists view it as a breeding ground for more variants.