The world is in a pandemic for many months. The SARS-COV-2 virus has already been decoded, but, as is normal, the viruses undergo many mutations.
In Portugal, the National Institute of Health Ricardo Jorge revealed that there are 3 new variants to circulate.
Three variants of the virus with different change in Spike protein
One of the three variants of the virus represents about 70% of the viral genomes analyzed in the study. "It is normal for this to happen," says the National Institute of Health Ricardo Jorge.
Paulo Gomes, responsible for the bioinformatics unit of the Department of Infectious Diseases at INSA, said that…
We have now seen in this study that we did in collaboration with the Gulbenkian Institute of Science [IGC] that the variants that are characterizing this second wave in Portugal have mutations that were not described throughout the first wave
According to the Lusa communication, the three most frequent variants of the virus, each recognized by a different change in the Spike protein (A222V, S477N or S98F), were detected in all regions of mainland Portugal, suggesting that they would have been the main co-responsible the second epidemic wave of SARS-CoV-2.
According to those responsible for the study, these are completely normal situations, as there is an adaptation of the virus to humans.
Regarding the mutations observed in the country, the researcher stated that some "are quite interesting", but are not exclusive to Portugal, stressing that "one of the virus mutations characterizes a variant that appeared in Spain a few months ago and that has spread throughout the rest Europe at an astonishing speed ”, which was now observed in Portugal in 70% of the samples analyzed in the study.
Regarding the fatality rate, the researcher stated that "in clinical terms there is no evidence that there is a greater severity in terms of the disease".
According to the study report released, 2,234 sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, which causes COVID-19 disease, have been analyzed to date. These sequences were obtained from samples collected in 68 laboratories, hospitals, institutions, representing 199 municipalities in Portugal.
In this update of the study, 449 more sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 genome were inserted, collected since the beginning of November in 19 collaborating laboratories / hospitals across the country, representing 16 districts of the Mainland and the Azores, in a total of 113 municipalities. .
There is no record of the new strain circulating in the United Kingdom. Interestingly, the genetic variant of the virus that marked the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in Portugal (with the mutation in Spike D839Y) was also not detected in the genomes analyzed for the second wave. This suggests that public health measures implemented will have mitigated the continued transmission of the virus.