Cases of UK, South African variants already reported earlier
The Brazilian coronavirus variant P.1 has recently been detected in COVID-19 patient samples, announced Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho on Friday.
According to a study by the Aga Khan University, 13 samples were taken out of which 10 cases were of the UK virus variant and the remaining of the South Africa and Brazil variants.
The latter two variants have a higher mortality than previous variants, Dr Pechuho said. “They are also not responsive to vaccines.”
They spread fast and can put the healthcare system under great stress, she warned.
“This is because they make infected people very sick and the vaccines we’re giving will not work against them.”
The P.1 variant was reported in Brazil towards the end of last year. A study published in Science has shown that the variant has 17 mutations, including three in the spike protein.
“We estimate that P.1 may be 1.7–2.4-fold more transmissible,” the authors of the study said.
Brazil has seen an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the past few months. On Thursday, the South American nation became the second country to cross 400,000 COVID-19 deaths after the United States.
The Brazil and South Africa virus variants have a mutation, called E484K, that may help the virus escape the immune system.
The South African variant B.1.351 might be around 50% more infectious according to researchers. While the UK variant may be up to 70% more transmissible.
Research into the COVID-19 variants is still ongoing and currently it is not known conclusively which vaccines work against them.
“Please stay at home,” the Sindh health minister urged.
She had made the same appeal on Thursday while talking about the spread of the UK variant in the province.
People are shopping without masks, she said adding that if we develop a situation like the one in India we will be in grave danger.
The health minister also hinted at a stricter lockdown soon.
“Take care of yourselves and your community by following SOPs.”