SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A Brazilian lab said on Thursday it has detected two cases of the new coronavirus variant that has spread rapidly in Britain, and urged reinforcement of quarantine measures for travelers coming from Europe.
Diagnostic medicine company Dasa said in a statement that it had detected the SARS-CoV-2 strain B.1.1.7 through genetic sequencing done in partnership with Sao Paulo University’s Tropical Medicine Institute.
“Sequencing confirmed that the new strain of the virus has arrived in Brazil,” said researcher Ester Sabino at the Tropical Medicine Institute.
The new variant has rapidly become the dominant strain in cases of COVID-19 in parts of southern England, and has been linked to an increase in hospitalization rates. Australia, Italy and the Netherlands say they detected cases of the new strain.
Scientists say that, while it is not more lethal than the original strain, it is significantly more transmissible.
“Given its high transmission power, this result reinforces the importance of quarantine, and of maintaining isolation for 10 days, especially for those who are coming or just arrived from Europe,” Sabino said.
(Reporting by Paula Arend Laier; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Peter Graff)