The coronavirus mutations corresponding to the so-called “Rio de Janeiro variant” were found in a sample in Argentina, confirmed from the Anlis-Malbrán (National Administration of Laboratories and Institutes of Health), that they carry out an active surveillance of the genomes of the strains that circulate in the country.
“Of the last genomes we sequenced between November and December, we found one in which we were able to identify the six mutations corresponding to the Rio de Janeiro variant,” confirmed Joséfina Campos, coordinator of the Anlis-Malbrán Genomics and Bioinformatics Platform.
He added: “We were also able to identify the clonal relationship, that means it has the same origin as the Rio de Janeiro variant. “
Campos pointed out that “this variant was also found in England and Canada “.
“There are still no conclusive studies that allow us to say that the variants have any impact on the transmissibility, the severity of the infection or the efficacy of the vaccine. Viruses mutate all the time, lor what there is at this moment is an attention paid to a variant of the United Kingdom because it has many mutations together that could have some implication in the transmissibility but it is not conclusive“, he stressed.
Referring to the Rio de Janeiro variant specifically, Campos explained that “of the six mutations it has, there is one that is in the spike protein (spike); in previous works it had been found that this variant decreased the neutralizing effects of monoclonal antibodies and of some convalescent plasmas, but there are no specific studies of the variant, what is done is an association with previous works “.
The specialist reported that To date, no mutations have been found for the UK and South African variants.
“It is important to emphasize that beyond the lineages of the viruses that circulate, it is key that people continue with care,” he concluded.
The Anlis-Malbrán carries out active surveillance of the genomes that circulate in Argentina since the pandemic began. In this context, they announced the acquisition of new equipment.
“Through this equipment, what we intend is to expand the limits in the quantity of samples processed, the quality of the information obtained, the processing time and finally, generate reliable data for decision making.“, said Pascual Fidelio, director of Anlis-Malbrán.
He continued: “The possibility of using these new equipment under the concept of a transversal platform broadens the usefulness for the different centers and institutes not only of Anlis but of the health system as a whole. In addition it can be an important complement not only for genomic sequencing, but also as a diagnosis of large-scale pathologies “.
“The possibility of having a state-of-the-art equipment will make it possible to massively sequence complete SARS-CoV-2 genomes, and this implies quickly knowing the type of strain, lineage and circulation of the virus. With this information, added to other epidemiological, health actions can be defined, a key scenario in the context of a pandemic, “he described.