Marlúcia Seixas (Fiocruz Amazon)
In a partnership with the Amazonas Foundation for Health Surveillance (FVS-AM), researchers of the Leônidas and Maria Deane Institute (ILMD/Fiocruz Amazon) have confirmed the second case of reinfection by the Sars-CoV-2 in Brazil. The reinfection occurred in manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas, by the new variant identified in the state, designateed B.18.104.22.168 or P.1. The case was confirmed by virologist and researcher Felipe Naveca. Read here the article on the new variant. Read the article on the reinfection case.
“The reinfection was confirmed when we finished the genetic sequencing of the samples, comparing the first infection and the second. They proved to belong to different lineages. This was the last criterion we needed to confirm that it was indeed a reinfection”, commented Naveca.
This first documented case of reinfection by the emerging P.1 lineage occurred in a 29-year-old woman from the state of Amazonas. The patient was first infected by the Sars-CoV-2 in March, and again in December 2020. Both positive tests for the Sars-CoV-2 weere RT-PCR.
Since the Covid-19 appeared, some cases of reinfection by phylogenetically different variants of the Sars-CoV-2 have been reported. The researcher reveals that cases of reinfection can be either the consequence of a limited and transient protective immunity induced by the first infection or a reflection of the virus’ ability to reinfect by evading the previous immune response.
The new variant of Sars-CoV-2 originates from the B.1.1.28 lineage that circulates in the Amazonas state. The new strain was also detected in Japanese travelers who had been in the state, which has been severely hit by Covid-19 in the first wave of the pandemic, between March and July last year, and which is currently facing a huge surge in the number of deaths.
Felipe Naveca warns that other variants of the Sars-CoV-2 are circulating in Brazil and that others may appear over time, which is why constant surveillance of strains of the new coronavirus is crucial to support health systems in the fight against Covid-19.
“It is too early to confirm the role played by this variant in the recent explosion of cases in Manaus. We must sequence many other samples to check its frequency right now, but I do believe it is one of the contributing factors, yes,” he comments.
The researcher also reminds us that other factors may have contributed to increase the number of cases of Covid-19 in the Amazonas state: the rainy period in the region, which favors an increase in the rate of infections by respiratory viruses, and, most of all, the low adhesion of the population to the recommended use of face masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washing.
Virology studies by Fiocruz Amazon are supported by Fiocruz, by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), and by the Amazonas Foundation for Research Support (Fapeam). FVS-AM and the Amazonas Central Laboratory of Public Health (Lacen-AM) are partners in all research on emerging virus diseases.