Brazil says Amazon coronavirus variant three times more contagious

Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello sought to reassure lawmakers that the surge of recent months was unexpected but coming under control

Topics

Brazil | Coronavirus


Reuters 

Covid-19 patients lie on beds in a field hospital built inside a gym in Santo Andre, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: AP/PTI

A coronavirus variant identified in the Brazilian Amazon may be three times more contagious but early analysis suggests vaccines are still effective against it, the country’s health minister said on Thursday, without providing evidence for the claims.

Under pressure as the variant hammers the jungle city of Manaus with a devastating second wave of infections, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello sought to reassure lawmakers that the surge of recent months was unexpected but coming under control.

He also told a Senate hearing that Brazil would vaccinate half its eligible population by June and the rest by the end of the year — an ambitious target as the country has barely guaranteed doses for half the population.

Brazil began immunisations with vaccines made by China’s Sinovac Biotech and Britain’s AstraZeneca about three weeks ago. Pazuello did not explain how their effectiveness against the Manaus variant was analysed.

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First Published: Sat, February 13 2021. 01:41 IST