1 min read.Updated: 09 Jan 2021, 10:37 AM ISTAgencies
The re-infection case involves a 45-year-old woman who tested coronavirus positive in May and tested positive again in October last year with the mutation
A woman from Brazil has become the first person in the world to be re-infected with a mutant of the novel coronavirus, known as E484K, state-run news agency Agencia Brasil has reported.
The re-infection case, discovered by researchers from the D'Or Institute for Research and Education in northeast Bahia, involves a 45-year-old woman who tested coronavirus positive in May and tested positive again in October last year with the mutation. In both cases, the patient did not present serious symptoms.
Originally identified in South Africa, the E484K mutation has been previously detected in Brazil, but this is the first case of re-infection with it.
To confirm re-infection, it is necessary to undertake an analysis of the genome of the two viruses and compare the sequence of RNA, the "prime" molecule of DNA, to see if they are in fact two different strains, the report added.
Researchers at the D'Or Institute expressed concern over the discovery, since the mutation may entail alterations that can prevent the action of antibodies from treating patients.
"The discovery serves as an alert and reinforces the need to maintain pandemic control measures through social distancing, and the need to accelerate the vaccination process," warned institute researcher Bruno Solano.
So far as many as five variants of coronavirus have already been discovered in Brazil.
Meanwhile, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expedite a shipment of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine amid broader delays to the Covid-19 vaccine's arrival in the country.
The letter released by Bolsonaro's press office comes amid growing pressure to speed up Brazil's Covid-19 vaccine roll-out and end the world's second-deadliest pandemic.
"To enable the immediate implementation of our National Immunization Program, I would appreciate ... the supply to Brazil, with the possible urgency and without jeopardizing the Indian vaccination program, of 2 million doses," Bolsonaro said in the letter.
On Friday, Brazil reported 52,035 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 962 deaths, the health ministry said.
The South American country has now registered 8,013,708 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 201,460, according to ministry data, in the world's third-worst outbreak outside the United States and India.
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