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Contagious Brazil COVID-19 variant can re-infect people, scientists warn

London: A highly transmissible COVID-19 variant that emerged in Brazil and has now been found in at least 20 countries can re-infect people who previously recovered from the disease, scientists say.

In a study of the mutant virus’ emergence and its spread in the Amazon jungle city of Manaus, the scientists said the variant – known as P.1 – has a “unique constellation of mutations” and had very rapidly become the dominant variant circulating there.

Relatives help a funeral worker, wearing protective gear, remove a body from a home in Manaus, Brazil, last year.

Relatives help a funeral worker, wearing protective gear, remove a body from a home in Manaus, Brazil, last year.Credit:AP

Out of 100 people in Manaus who had previously recovered from infection with the coronavirus, “somewhere between 25 and 61 of them are susceptible to re-infection with P.1,” said Nuno Faria, a virus expert at Imperial College London, who co-led the research which has not yet been peer reviewed.

The scientists estimated that P.1 was 1.4 to 2.2 times more transmissible than the initial form of the virus.

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