Researchers in southern Brazil said these Saturday (30) they had discovered patients infected with two different strains of the new coronavirus simultaneously, reflecting concern about the growing number of variants in the country.
The research posted on the medRxiv medical website says the study would be the first in the world to confirm co-infection with two strains of the coronavirus. The study has not yet been published in a scientific journal and has not been peer-reviewed.
The patients, both in their 30s, were infected in late November with the P.2 variant of the coronavirus identified in Rio de Janeiro, also known as strain B.1.1.28, and simultaneously tested positive for a second variant of the virus. His symptoms were supposedly mild, with dry cough in one case and cough, sore throat and headache in the second. They did not need hospitalization.
The cases highlight how many variants may already be circulating in Brazil and raise concerns among scientists that the coexistence of two strains in the same body may accelerate mutations of new variants of the coronavirus. New variants carry the risk of greater transmissibility and possible resistance to developing vaccines.
Mutations found in coronavirus variants in Great Britain, South Africa and in a more recent one in the Brazilian state of Amazonas seem to have made the virus more contagious. The cases point to a significant viral load circulating in Brazil because co-infection can only occur when different viruses are being transmitted in large quantities, said Spilki.