Target of studies for the possibility of being more transmissible, the variant of the coronavirus called P.1, originally identified in Amazonas, already has cases in at least 17 states of the country, points out balance released by the Ministry of Health this Tuesday (23) .
The survey was based on data sent by the state health departments, which cover information until February 20. For comparison, the balance sheet of February 12 indicated that the variant had been identified in ten states.
According to the folder, the records of variant P.1 already add up to at least 184 cases in the country – specialists, however, point to the possibility that the number is higher, since only a sample of Covid’s cases is usually the target of analysis for genomic sequencing , model that allows this identification.
In addition to Amazonas, which had at least 60 cases already analyzed, the states with the highest number of records are São Paulo (with 28 cases already identified), Goiás (15), Paraíba (12), Pará (11), Bahia (11) and Rio Grande do Sul (9).
There are also records of the variant already identified in Roraima (7), Minas Gerais (6), Paraná (5), Sergipe (5), Rio de Janeiro (4), Santa Catarina (4), Ceará (3), Alagoas (2) ), Pernambuco (1) and Piauí (1).
In addition to this variant, the Ministry’s balance points out that at least 20 cases of another “variant of care” have been identified in the country, such as the one originally observed in the United Kingdom. The registrations took place in São Paulo, Bahia, Goiás and Rio de Janeiro.
On February 12, the portfolio even reported that the variant had been identified in the Federal District, but the records were from Goiás, it said on Tuesday (23).
Also according to the ministry, there is no record at the moment of circulation of the variant discovered in South Africa, which has also attracted the attention of experts.
The folder says it sent on Tuesday (23) a new technical note to the states with updated information on the cases. “The document also guides measures that must be adopted and intensified by the state health departments, in order to monitor and prevent the spread of new variants in the country”, he points out. The folder did not say what those actions would be.
In a previous note, the guidance included recommending avoid non-essential travel, “in particular to areas with a significantly high incidence of the new variant,” intensifying contact tracking and case isolation and alerting the ministry within 24 hours of new identifications.
Currently, the so-called genomic surveillance is carried out in the health network mainly by three laboratories: Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Instituto Adolfo Lutz and Instituto Evandro Chagas. Each month, a specific number of samples are sent by states to these locations.
In a note, the ministry recalls that the analysis of the result is used to quantify and qualify the viral genetic diversity circulating in the country, and does not serve as a diagnostic method. “For public health, the genetic sequencing of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, combined with other studies, makes it possible to suggest whether the identified mutations can potentially influence pathogenicity, transmissibility, in addition to directing therapeutic, diagnostic measures or even contributing to the understanding of the response vaccine “, informs.
In addition to these, other public and private laboratories also carry out these analyzes.
“Therefore, many results may have been reported only to municipalities or states or, even, have not yet been notified to any entity of the Unified Health System (SUS), being deposited only in open genomic sequencing sites”, he reinforces.
Like sheet showed, the lack of resources and difficulty in obtaining inputs, however, hinder the expansion of this surveillance, necessary to identify new variants of Sars-CoV-2.
The folder recently started a pilot project to analyze 1,200 samples of coronavirus, in an attempt to expand surveillance. The work must involve four laboratories (Adolfo Lutz, Evandro Chagas and the public health laboratories in Bahia and Minas Gerais). The initiative is expected to last for at least four months.