Model-based estimation of transmissibility and reinfection of SARS-CoV-2 P.1 variant
Renato Mendes Coutinho,
Flavia Maria Darci Marquitti,
Leonardo Souto Ferreira,
Marcelo Eduardo Borges,
Rafael Lopes Paixao da Silva,
Tatiana P. Portella,
Silas Poloni Lyra,
Mateusz M. Plucinski,
Fernanda C. Lessa,
Antonio D Silva,
Roberto A. Kraenkel,
Maria Amelia S M Veras,
Paulo Inácio Prado
Posted 05 Mar 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.03.21252706
Posted 05 Mar 2021
The variant of concern (VOC) P.1 emerged in the Amazonas state (Brazil) in November-2020. It contains a constellation of mutations, ten of them in the spike protein. Consequences of these specific mutations at the population level have been little studied so far, despite the detection of P.1 variant in 26 countries, with local transmission in at least four other countries in the Americas and Europe. Here, we estimate P.1's transmissibility and reinfection using a model-based approach, by fitting data from the Brazilian national health surveillance of hospitalized individuals and frequency of the P.1 variant in Manaus from December 2020 to February 2021, when the city was devastated by four times more cases than in the previous peak (April 2020). The new variant was found to be about 2.6 times more transmissible (95\% Confidence Interval (CI): 2.4--2.8) than previous circulating variant(s). The city already had a high prevalence of individuals previously affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (estimated as 78\%, CI:73--83\%), and the fitted model attributed 28\% of the cases during the period to reinfections by the variant P.1. Our estimates rank P.1 as the most transmissible among the current identified SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, posing a serious threat and requiring urgent measures to control its global spread.
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