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1.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21266109

Résumé

The rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern (VOC) Gamma during late 2020 and early 2021 in Brazilian settings with high seroprevalence raised some concern about the potential role of reinfections in driving the epidemic. Very few cases of reinfection associated with the VOC Gamma, however, have been reported. Here we describe 25 cases of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection confirmed by real-time RT-PCR twice within months apart in Brazil. SARS-CoV-2 genomic analysis confirmed that individuals were primo-infected between March and December 2020 with distinct viral lineages, including B.1.1, B.1.1.28, B.1.1.33, B.1.195 and P.2, and then reinfected with the VOC Gamma between 3 to 12 months after primo-infection. The overall mean cycle threshold (Ct) value of the first (25.7) and second (24.5) episodes were roughly similar for the whole group and 14 individuals displayed mean Ct values < 25.0 at reinfection. Sera of 14 patients tested by plaque reduction neutralization test after reinfection displayed detectable neutralizing antibodies against Gamma and other SARS-CoV-2 variants (B.1.33, B.1.1.28 and Delta). All individuals have milder or no symptoms after reinfection and none required hospitalization. The present study demonstrates that the VOC Gamma was associated with reinfections during the second Brazilian epidemic wave in 2021 and raised concern about the potential infectiousness of reinfected subjects. Although individuals here analyzed failed to mount a long-term sterilizing immunity, they developed a high anti-Gamma neutralizing antibody response after reinfection that may provide some protection against severe disease.

2.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21265116

Résumé

The COVID-19 epidemic in Brazil experienced two major country-wide lineage replacements, the first driven by the lineage P.2, formerly classified as variant of interest (VOI) Zeta in late 2020 and the second by the variant of concern (VOC) Gamma in early 2021. To better understand how these SARS-CoV-2 lineage turnovers occurred in Brazil, we analyzed 11,724 high-quality SARS-CoV-2 whole genomes of samples collected in different country regions between September 2020 and April 2021. Our findings indicate that the spatial dispersion of both variants in Brazil was driven by short and long-distance viral transmission. The lineage P.2 harboring Spike mutation E484K probably emerged around late July 2020 in the Rio de Janeiro (RJ) state, which contributed with most ([~]50%) inter-state viral disseminations, and only became locally established in most Brazilian states by October 2020. The VOC Gamma probably arose in November 2020 in the Amazonas (AM) state, which was responsible for 60-70% of the inter-state viral dissemination, and the earliest timing of community transmission of this VOC in many Brazilian states was already traced to December 2020. We estimate that variant Gamma was 1.56-3.06 more transmissible than variant P.2 co-circulating in RJ and that the median effective reproductive number (Re) of Gamma in RJ and SP states (Re = 1.59-1.91) was lower than in AM (Re = 3.55). In summary, although the epicenter of the lineage P.2 dissemination in Brazil was the heavily interconnected Southeastern region, it displayed a slower rate of spatial spread than the VOC Gamma originated in the more isolated Northern Brazilian region. Our findings also support that the VOC Gamma was more transmissible than lineage P.2, although the viral Re of the VOC varied according to the geographic context.

3.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21263453

Résumé

The Amazonas was one of the most heavily affected Brazilian states by the COVID-19 epidemic. Despite a large number of infected people, particularly during the second wave associated with the spread of the Variant of Concern (VOC) Gamma (lineage P.1), SARS-CoV-2 continues to circulate in the Amazonas. To understand how SARS-CoV-2 persisted in a human population with a high immunity barrier, we generated 1,188 SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequences from individuals diagnosed in the Amazonas state from 1st January to 6th July 2021, of which 38 were vaccine breakthrough infections. Our study reveals a sharp increase in the relative prevalence of Gamma plus (P.1+) variants, designated as Pango Lineages P.1.3 to P.1.6, harboring two types of additional Spike changes: deletions in the N-terminal (NTD) domain (particularly{Delta} 144 or{Delta} 141-144) associated with resistance to anti-NTD neutralizing antibodies or mutations at the S1/S2 junction (N679K or P681H) that probably enhance the binding affinity to the furin cleavage site, as suggested by our molecular dynamics simulations. As lineages P.1.4 (S:N679K) and P.1.6 (S:P681H) expanded (Re > 1) from March to July 2021, the lineage P.1 declined (Re < 1) and the median Ct value of SARS-CoV-2 positive cases in Amazonas significantly decreases. Still, we found no overrepresentation of P.1+ variants among breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated patients (71%) in comparison to unvaccinated individuals (93%). This evidence supports that the ongoing endemic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the Amazonas is driven by the spread of new local Gamma/P.1 sub-lineages that are more transmissible, although not more efficient to evade vaccine-elicited immunity than the parental VOC. Finally, as SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread in human populations with a declining density of susceptible hosts, the risk of selecting new variants with higher infectivity are expected to increase.

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