Two coronavirus variants have been detected in Brazil

Two coronavirus variants have been detected in Brazil

Hospital ICUs are reaching their limits across Brazil, as health experts and state officials beg the government to impose stricter lockdown measures to reduce coronavirus transmission. Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello has acknowledged the crisis, telling state governors on Feb 25 that new coronavirus variants had made controlling the pandemic even more difficult, in a country where death and infection rates have long raged out of control.

Two coronavirus variants have been detected in Brazil, or in people who have travelled from Brazil, called P1 and P2. They are similar but it is P1 that is causing concern in the UK, after the detection of six cases – three in England and three in Scotland. The hunt is on for more – and to identify one of the people infected, who appears not to have registered their full details with NHS test and trace.

The new studies have yet to be published in scientific journals. Their authors caution that findings on cells in laboratories do not always translate to the real world, and they’ve only begun to understand P.1’s behaviour.

P.1 is now spreading across the rest of Brazil and has been found in 24 other countries. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded six cases in five states: Alaska, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota and Oklahoma.