- The Washington Times - Friday, April 30, 2021

The coronavirus variant first detected in Brazil spreads much more easily than other versions, researchers have found.

The P.1 variant could be 1.7 to 2.4 times more transmissible than other strains, according to the study published this month in Science. Being infected previously with another COVID-19 strain provides 54% to 79% protection against the Brazilian version of the coronavirus.

The researchers, who come from organizations including University of Oxford, Harvard University and the University of São Paulo in Brazil, also guess people infected with the P.1 coronavirus variant are 1.2 to 1.9 times as likely to die than those who get other strains.

The strain has spread quickly across Brazil and has been detected in more than 36 countries, the study authors note. In the U.S., the P.1 variant made up about 3.5% of total coronavirus infections as of earlier this month, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

Brazil has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases as of Friday, behind the U.S. and India, with more than 14.5 million confirmed cases, a John Hopkins tally shows. The country has the second-highest number of COVID-19 related deaths, with more than 401,000, behind the U.S., which has recorded almost 576,000 deaths.

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