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New COVID-19 variant discovered in Brazil. Here are the details

Another new COVID-19 mutation has been discovered in Brazil, which comes after the UK and South Africa variants were discovered

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A health worker shows a dose of China’s Sinovac Biotech experimental vaccine for the new coronavirus during the testing stage at the University Hospital of Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. A research team from the University Hospital is carrying out tests since June 2020 and now started tests on elderly health professionals over 60 years old.

A health worker shows a dose of China’s Sinovac Biotech experimental vaccine for the new coronavirus during the testing stage at the University Hospital of Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. A research team from the University Hospital is carrying out tests since June 2020 and now started tests on elderly health professionals over 60 years old.

AP

A new COVID-19 variant has been discovered in Brazil following the discovery of two new variants in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

  • The discovery raises concerns about public health experts, who are issuing warnings about new strains developing across the world.

What we know

Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) said it found a new COVID-19 variant among four travelers from Brazil back on Jan. 2, according to CNBC.

  • The NIID said the variant belongs to the B.1.1.248 COVID-19 strain and has 12 mutations in the spike protein, which are used for the virus to enter cells within the body, according to CNBC.
  • Little data exists about whether or not the new variant is more infectious. And it’s unclear if any vaccine is effective against it.

Hopes on the vaccine

Brazil — one of the worst affected countries by COVID-19 — has placed hopes for stopping the pandemic on a COVID-19 vaccine from China that only has a 50.4% effective rate, The Washington Post reports.

  • “The underwhelming results are a setback not only for Brazil, where more people have died of the virus than anywhere else outside the United States, but also for countries everywhere that have pinned their hopes on a vaccine that’s cheap, easily transported and ready for mass production,” according to The Washington Post. “It also clarified anew the role of global inequality in the spread of the disease.”