In a new study, Brazilian biologists led by Simona Kashima of the Blood Research Center of the Ribeirão Preto municipality found that a South African strain of a novel coronavirus entered South America in early fall 2020.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus strain found in South Africa is resistant to antibodies and poses a risk of re-infection. Special attention of scientists was attracted by the South African strains of the coronavirus, since the antibodies of those who had recovered had a weaker effect on them than on other varieties of the virus.
To understand how this strain spread, the authors examined over 200 coronavirus samples from patients who contracted the coronavirus between June 2020 and February 2021. The researchers decoded their RNA and compared their genomes.
Scientists have discovered the first traces of the penetration of the South African variant of the coronavirus into Brazil, and also found that this happened a long time ago, in October or November last year.
The authors believe that tourists or the Brazilians themselves, who returned home from Europe or South Africa in late summer or early autumn, could have brought it.
There is also an opinion that this variant of the coronavirus could arise on the territory of Brazil and by itself. This option is also possible, since its genome contains mutations A262D, D614G, and C1247F: they are not present in the first strains of the South African version of SARS-CoV-2.