Does this ever end?
Another variant of the coronavirus has been discovered in the Brazilian Amazon. This mutation is probably three times more contagious than the original virus, said Brazil’s Minister of Health Eduardo Pazuello on Thursday (local time).
Despite the high risk of infection with the new mutation, the minister assured: “Thank God the analysis has shown that the vaccines are also effective against this variant.” However, the Ministry of Health has not yet provided any data from this analysis.
To what extent this variant shows similarities with the Brazilian virus mutation that has already arrived in Germany is not yet known.
So far, the new Amazon mutation is said to be rampant in the jungle city of Manaus (2 million inhabitants). According to Pazuello, the infections there have increased unexpectedly in the past few months, but would be brought under control. Speaking at a Senate hearing, the minister said Brazil will vaccinate half of the eligible population by June and the rest by the end of the year. However, the country has currently only secured vaccination doses to supply half of its population.
Brazil began vaccinating about three weeks ago with vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech and UK AstraZeneca. The Butantane Institute in Sao Paulo said that it has already started studies on the new Manaus variant, but that results cannot be expected for two weeks.
The Fiocruz biomedical center in Rio de Janeiro, which has entered into a partnership with AstraZeneca, also announced that it had also tested the effectiveness against the Amazon variant and had sent samples to Oxford.