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medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.09.21.22280193


ABSTRACT The SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) Delta and Omicron spread globally during mid and late 2021, respectively, with variable impact according to the immune population landscape. In this study, we compare the dissemination dynamics of these VOCs in the Amazonas state, one of Brazil’s most heavily affected regions. We sequenced the virus genome from 4,128 patients collected in Amazonas between July 1st, 2021 and January 31st, 2022 and investigated the lineage replacement dynamics using a phylodynamic approach. The VOCs Delta and Omicron displayed similar patterns of phylogeographic spread but significantly different epidemic dynamics. The Delta and Omicron epidemics were fueled by multiple introduction events, followed by the successful establishment of a few local transmission lineages of considerable size that mainly arose in the Capital, Manaus. The VOC Omicron spread and became dominant much faster than the VOC Delta. We estimate that under the same epidemiological conditions, the average Re of Omicron was ∼3.3 times higher than that of Delta and the average Re of the Delta was ∼1.3 times higher than that of Gamma. Furthermore, the gradual replacement of Gamma by Delta occurred without an upsurge of COVID-19 cases, while the rise of Omicron fueled a sharp increase in SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Omicron wave displayed a shorter duration and a clear decoupling between the number of SARS-CoV-2 cases and deaths compared with previous (B.1.* and Gamma) waves in the Amazonas state. These findings suggest that the high level of hybrid immunity (infection plus vaccination) acquired by the Amazonian population by mid-2021 was able to limit the spread of the VOC Delta and was also probably crucial to curb the number of severe cases, although not the number of VOC Omicron new infections.

medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.11.29.21266109


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.

medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.09.12.21263453


Summary 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 Δ 144 or Δ 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.

researchsquare; 2021.


The SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.28 has been evolving in Brazil since February 2020 giving origin to multiple local clades including the new Variant of Concern (VOC) designated P.1 or 501Y.V3. The recent emergence of sub-lineages with convergent mutations in the spike (S) protein raises concern about the potential impact on viral infectivity and immune escape. We describe here the first three confirmed SARS-CoV-2 reinfections cases with the new VOC P.1 in residents of the Amazonas state, Brazil. Three female patients, 29, 40, and 50-year-old, were RT-PCR confirmed for SARS-CoV-2 on two occasions, with at least 92 days apart. Next-generation sequencing and phylogenetic analysis were conducted to precisely access the SARS-CoV-2 lineages of each infection event. SARS-CoV-2 genomic analysis confirmed three cases of reinfections caused by the VOC P.1 in patients that were primo-infected by distinct viral lineages 3–9 months earlier. Case 1 (29-year-old) was positive on March 24, 2020 (lineage B.1.195) and then on December 30, 2020 (lineage P.1); case 2 (50-year-old) was positive on October 19, 2020 (lineage B.1.1.33) and on January 19, 2021 (lineage P.1); case 3 (40-year-old) was positive on April 22, 2020 (lineage B.1.195) and on January 29, 2021 (lineage P.1). The three patients displayed low mean Ct values (< 22) at nasopharyngeal samples and reported less severe illness during reinfection. The present study provides the first evidence of the new VOC P.1 causing multiple reinfections during the second epidemic peak in the Amazonas state. Our findings suggest that reinfected individuals may have been infectious. Although immune responses induced by natural infections do not necessarily prevent subsequent infections by the VOC P.1, they may still protect from severe disease.

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