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Variant 1st Found in Brazil May Cause More Severe Symptoms: Study

The study found higher levels of antibodies were needed to neutralise the B.1.1.28.2 variant as compared to B.1.

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COVID-19
2 min read
Study found P.2 variant of COVID “induced body weight loss, viral replication in the respiratory tract, lung lesions and caused severe lung pathology.”
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B.1.1.28.2, the COVID variant which was first found in Brazil last year, is feared to cause more severe symptoms than original forms of the coronavirus, B.1 variant, that spread in Wuhan, according to a new study.

The study was conducted by the researchers from the National Institute of Virology in Pune and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in Delhi, through genome sequencing samples from international travellers from the UK and Brazil.

B.1.1.28.2 variant, also known as the P.2 variant, was isolated from nasal/throat swabs of the travelers.

The researchers then studied Syrian hamsters that were infected with the P.2 variant, and compared it with the hamsters infected with the B.1 variant.

The study, which is yet to be peer reviewed, found that the P.2 variant “induced body weight loss, viral replication in the respiratory tract, lung lesions and caused severe lung pathology in infected Syrian hamster model, in comparison with B.1 variant infected hamsters.”

“The sera from B.1.1.28.2 infected hamsters efficiently neutralised the D614G variant virus whereas 6-fold reduction in the neutralization was seen in case of D614G variant infected hamsters’ sera with the B.1.1.28.2 variant,” the study noted.

This means higher levels of antibodies were needed to neutralise the B.1.1.28.2 variant as compared to the B.1 variant.

The researchers said that the findings of increased disease severity and neutralisation reduction is of great concern and point towards the need for screening the vaccines for efficacy.

The variant, now called the Gamma variant, according to the announcement by the World Health Organisation, has spread to more than 10 other countries, including the UK.

(This story was first published in FIT and republished here with permission.)

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