March 24, 2021 – Uncontrolled spread of more infectious Coronavirus The variant COVID-19 in Brazil is an even more dangerous version of the virus that causes it.

The changes were documented by a team of researchers from Firukuz, a large public health research laboratory run by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. His findings were posted recently In an impression On, Further to peer review.

The study described 11 coronovirus sequences from five Brazilian states. Each had a telltale change in the virus receptor, making it one of the known variants. But, each also had additional changes in another important region of the virus called the N-terminal domain (NTD).

The changes were deletions of important antibody-binding sites. Many of these were major deletions of a mutation that has arisen independently in other circulating variants and has been observed in viral mutations in patients with cancer, suggesting that it gives the virus a significant advantage.

Since the beginning of Universal epidemic, Scientists expected the virus to mutate or mutate. Viruses may also lose or regain parts of their genetic code. In molecular biology, there is a term for this: Indel, which means insertion or deletion. Read more about coronovirus variants.

These insertions or deletions are more abrupt changes than a point mutation. When they are in the virus’s spike proteins, they can modify the shape of the coronovirus, allowing it to escape the “lock and key” antibodies that fit these binding sites.

“There are many antibodies to the NTD region that are generated for this NTD region. So these mutations are likely to make the virus more resistant,” said Felipe Naveen, Vice President of Research and Innovation at Fiocruz Amazonia. .

Modeling by Naveen and his team suggests that deletion will limit the ability of antibodies to capture these viruses and prevent them from infecting us.

Naveka however also states that these variants are still uncommon with them. They were quickly observed, and scientists believe they are not yet widespread.

“But research serves as a warning and we need to monitor their occurrence. That’s why genomic monitoring is done,” the researcher said.

“Shutdown replication” required

Brazil is in the midst of another devastating wave of COVID-19 infections, fueled by variants and political inaction. Hospitals have run out of beds and other major supplies, such as Ventilators And Oxygen, and Brazilian President Jair Bolonaro, emphasized the idea of ​​asking citizens to wear masks and refusing to enforce lockdowns, saying the country’s economy would cost too much.

Researchers not involved in the study said the findings should put the rest of the world on alert.

John Mellors, head of infectious diseases at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said the discovery is “not surprising, but related.”

Mellors and his colleagues were part of a team of researchers who documented the same changes in a cancer patient fighting the virus for more than 2 months.

Over time, genome sequencing revealed that the patient, who had been treated with convocation Plasma And antiviral medication Reminder At least six different SARS-CoV-2 variants were hosted to promote their immune response. The variants had several mutations that have been performed by variants originating in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil.

N-terminal domain deletions have also been detected in other parts of the world documented in the new prepair.

a Separate study, Published in the magazine earlier this month Science, Found that other deletions also inhibit antibodies. In response to infection or A. Vaccination, Our bodies form a complete orchestra of Y-shaped antibodies designed to capture each virus in slightly different locations. So missing one of these antibody docking sites on the virus, not necessarily for alarm. But the more the coronavirus changes shape and changes, the more our immune immunity loses its collective pore, and eventually the changes allow the virus to regenerate or defeat the protection created by one Vaccination.

Other researchers not involved in the study said that even when the findings were interesting and observable, it was too early to know what this particular combination of mutations might mean.

“I am sure there will be a follow-up paper that will lead these to death and as you know, you explain, what are the exact effects of each of these, and I am sure that is probably just around the corner, Pavitra Roychowdhury. , PhD, said an instructor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.

now, According to The CDC, which is tracking variants, does not contain any virus variants that cause testing, vaccines, or treatment to fail completely.

“The biggest trick we all need to make is to have far-reaching vaccination, as much as we can possibly prevent the virus from replicating,” said Mellors. “No replication, no development. So if we stop replication and disperse, we’ll be fine, and it’s a pretty big undertaking around the world to shut down.”

Reduction in public health measurement

The variables that most affect the development of the virus are the number of people infected and the length of time they spend getting infected. Scientists believe that, to slow the growth of the virus, it is necessary to vaccinate quickly and prevent people from wandering – something that is not currently happening in Brazil.

“This is very important in order to guarantee the effectiveness of vaccines in the future. They were not designed to cope with this amount of mutations,” said author Tiago Graff, who is also with FiroCruz.

“We defend the use of vaccines, and we believe they will continue to protect against serious illness. But the virus is becoming so different from the original that new tests will need to understand how effective they will be,” Graff it is said.

“We are showing that new versions have arisen and are at risk. But public administration ignores our warnings. The situation we see today is the result of that.”


John Mellors, MD, Head of Infectious Diseases, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Pavitra Raychaudhuri, PhD, Instructor, Laboratory Department of Medicine, University of Washington at Seattle Published on March 18, 2021.

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