The P.1 COVID-19 variant first discovered in Brazil is highly infectious and may be able to evade the natural immune response, according to an initial, not-yet-peer-reviewed assessment, Sky News reports.
The variant, according to researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Sao Paulo:
- Was 1.2–2.2X more transmissible than its predecessors in the city of Manaus, where it was first discovered late last year.
- Evaded 25%–61% of natural immunity from prior infection.
P.1 has since been found in 24 other countries, but it’s unclear whether findings about the Manaus outbreak are applicable elsewhere, The New York Times reports.
Big questions remain about how the variants will respond to vaccines.