The reports released by health authorities in South America on Monday show many nations across the continent in tight ropes of Covid-19 Pandemic with huge spikes of new cases. Brazil is the worst hit country in South America with total Covid-19 cases crossing 13 million mark. Furthermore, Paraguay and Uruguay too have registered record number of new daily Covid-19 cases. The experts have called Brazil variant of coronavirus to be the main attributing factor for the surge in South America. The variant is being described to be at least twice as more transmissible than the original coronavirus strain.
Fiocruz, the public health institute in Brazil has so far detected 92 variants of Coronavirus in Brazil. It is to be noted that this is not unusual as mutating is prime property of all viruses. The cause of concern is that Brazil variant or P.1 is exponentially more contagious than the original virus. The mutations in this variant are on the spike protein, the part through which virus attaches to the human cell. This makes the said variant more contagious.
Due to limited genetic sequencing in the region, it is difficult to maintain how widespread the variant is. But the fact that Brazil shares borders with 10 other nations, intensifies the possibility that the variant has been spread exponentially in the continent and beyond.
Peru’s health minister has reported that almost all cases reported in the country are of Brazil variant. Similar is the case in Paraguay, Bolivia, Venezuela and Argentina. Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has blamed recent spike in new cases and death tally in country to spread of the Brazil variant. On the other hand, Uruguay and Chile are having a rampant vaccination drive, leading to comparatively slower spread of Brazil variant and slower surge in cases.
Director of Pan-American Health Organization, Carissa Etienne has warned the rapidly developing situation as “an active public health emergency”.