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New lineage, with mutations that can make viruses more transmissible, was present in 42% of patients tested in the city

A new coronavirus lineage was identified in the city of Manaus, Amazonas, in December. The variant, which has a set of genetic mutations with the potential to increase transmission and reinfection by the virus, was present in 42% of infected patients tested in the city. The new strain was also detected in Japan, suggesting that the virus variant was carried by travelers from the Amazon. The discovery is the result of a study by researchers from the Brazil-UK Centre for (Arbo)virus Discovery, Diagnosis, Genomics and Epidemiology (Cadde group), which has the participation of the Instituto de Medicina Tropical (IMT) and the Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP).

The identification of the new variant is reported in the pre-print (previous version of a scientific article) Genomic Characterisation of an emergent Sars-cov-2 Lineage in Manaus: preliminary findings, published on the website Virological.Org, published on January 12. "The new lineage, called P.1, was identified in 13 of the 31 positive samples for the RT-PCR test collected between 15 and 23 December 2020, that is, in 42% of the patients tested," reports Ingra Morales Claro, a researcher at IMT and FMUSP, one of the authors of the article. "The variant, however, was absent from 26 publicly available genome surveillance samples collected in Manaus between March and November 2020."

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