SAO PAULO — The coronavirus variant detected in the northern Brazilian state of Amazonas is twice as contagious and capable of re-infecting those who already had COVID-19, according to a scientific study released on Tuesday.
The Sao Paulo Research Foundation said the scientific research group was coordinated by Ester Sabino, an expert on infectious diseases at the University of Sao Paulo, and Nuno Faria, a researcher at Oxford University in Britain.
The virus variant was initially detected in mid-November in Manaus, capital of Amazonas state.
In just seven weeks, the variant became more prevalent in the region, according to researchers at the Brazil-U.K. Center for Arbovirus Discovery, Diagnosis, Genomics and Epidemiology.
Sabino said the message from the data is that even people who have already had the disease should continue to be cautious.
Brazil has the world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll, after the United States, and the third-largest caseload, after the United States and India.
So far, 10,587,001 people in Brazil have tested positive for the virus and 255,720 people have died from the disease.