Sunday 9 May 2021 7:43 am

Covid strain that contains 18 mutations is more deadly and infectious, researchers warn

Researchers have confirmed that a new variant of the Coronavirus turns out to be a combination of 18 different mutations, including the strains commonly known as the Brazil, British and South African variants.

Moreover, the new strain is more deadly and infectious variant than the original coronavirus variant.

Researchers in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte said the new variant is a mixture of nearly two dozen previously know mutations, according to local media reports in the South American country.

“It is as if these variants were evolving,” virologist Renato Santana reportedly said, adding the new variant includes the same genes modified by Brazil’s Manaus, known as P1, British and South African variants.

Santana said the new strain has characterises of variants that are associated with a higher risk of death, according to Brazilian newspaper G1.

“It has characteristics in common with the variants that were already circulating in Brazil but it also has new characteristics,” the Federal University of Minas Gerais researcher added.

Multiple mutations in circulation

Similar to India, Brazil has seen a rapid increase of Covid-19 infections in recent weeks, and Santana said the rapidly rising number of severely ill people could be linked to the various mutations currently in circulation in Brazil and beyond.

Moreover, a relatively slow vaccine rollout “accelerates the appearance of new variants as the continued spread of the virus allows it to get “trained” to detect and bypass antibodies, as the immune system merely “looks out for the original strain,” Santana explained.