Laboratory tests conducted at the Instituto de Tropical Medicine of University of São Paulo (IMT-USP) suggest that, in the vast majority of cases, antibodies generated during an infection by the ancestral strain of new coronaviruses are also able to neutralize the P.1 variant, which emerged in November 2020 in the city of Manaus (AM) and is consideredmore transferable.

The experiments were carried out with blood plasma collected between May and June last year of 60 volunteers infected with the B.1.1.28 lineage of the SARS-CoV-2, the first identified in the country. In 84% of cases, antibodies present in samples collected after the 15th day of infection were able to to neutralize P.1 in cell cultures.

The complete data of the study, financed by the Research Support Foundation of the State of São Paulo (FAPESP), were published in the medRxiv platform and are still in the process of peer review. “The results suggest that individuals infected by the ancestral strain of SARS-CoV-2 tend to be more protected if they encounter the new variant. This does not eliminate the risk of reinfection, symptomatic disease or even of death. In any case, it brings a message of hope in a moment when things are very complicated”, says Maria Cassia Mendes-Correa, Professor at the Faculdade de Medicina da USP (FMUSP) and first author of the article.

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