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Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22270856


BackgroundThe structural environment of urban slums, including physical, demographic and socioeconomic attributes, renders inhabitants more vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Yet, little is known about the specific determinants that contribute to high transmission within these communities. Methods and findingsWe performed a serosurvey of an established cohort of 2,035 urban slum residents from the city of Salvador, Brazil between November 2020 and February 2021, following the first COVID-19 pandemic wave in the country. We identified high SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence (46.4%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 44.3-48.6%), particularly among female residents (48.7% [95% CI 45.9-51.6%] vs. 43.2% [95% CI 39.8-46.6%] among male residents), and among children (56.5% [95% CI 52.3-60.5%] vs. 42.4% [95% CI 39.9-45.0%] among adults). In multivariable models that accounted for household-level clustering, the odds ratio for SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity among children was 1.96 (95% CI 1.42-2.72) compared to adults aged 30-44 years. Adults residing in households with children were more likely to be seropositive; this effect was particularly prominent among individuals with age 30-44 and 60 years or more. Women living below the poverty threshold (daily per capita household income <$1.25) and those who were unemployed were more likely to be seropositive. ConclusionsDuring a single wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, cumulative incidence as assessed by serology approached 50% in a Brazilian urban slum population. In contrast to observations from industrialized countries, SARS-CoV-2 incidence was highest among children, as well as women living in extreme poverty. These findings emphasize the need for targeted interventions that provide safe environments for children and mitigate the structural risks posed by crowding and poverty for the most vulnerable residents of urban slum communities.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21265116


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.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21253946


Mutations at both the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and the amino (N)-terminal domain (NTD) of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) glycoprotein can alter its antigenicity and promote immune escape. We identified that SARS-CoV-2 lineages circulating in Brazil with mutations of concern in the RBD independently acquired convergent deletions and insertions in the NTD of the S protein, which altered the NTD antigenic-supersite and other predicted epitopes at this region. These findings support that the ongoing widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Brazil is generating new viral lineages that might be more resistant to neutralization than parental variants of concern.

Preprint Dans Anglais | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-434969


The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Brazil was dominated by two lineages designated as B.1.1.28 and B.1.1.33. Two SARS-CoV-2 variants harboring mutations at the receptor-binding domain of the Spike (S) protein, designated as lineages P.1 and P.2, evolved within lineage B.1.1.28 and are rapidly spreading in Brazil. Lineage P.1 is considered a Variant of Concern (VOC) because of the presence of multiple mutations in the S protein (including K417T, E484K, N501Y), while lineage P.2 only harbors mutation S:E484K and is considered a Variant of Interest (VOI). Here we report the identification of a new SARS-CoV-2 VOI within lineage B.1.1.33 that also harbors mutation S:E484K and was detected in Brazil between November 2020 and February 2021. This VOI displayed four non-synonymous lineage-defining mutations (NSP3:A1711V, NSP6:F36L, S:E484K, and NS7b:E33A) and was designated as lineage N.9. The VOI N.9 probably emerged in August 2020 and has spread across different Brazilian states from the Southeast, South, North and Northeast regions.

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