The SARS-Cov-2 mutants have recently hit the headlines as the death toll in the Federated Republic of Brazil crossed 220,000 death toll in February 2021. This death toll is reportedly the second-largest to this date but still 30% less than the United States. In this blog, we discuss how the Brazil variant is uncovering the world’s vulnerability.
This dreadful death count has forced the Brazilian government to disentomb the country’s graveyards. This step was crucial to ensure the burial of people who clasped death due to the raging coronavirus. With the decrease in the Brazilian population, its economy is also facing a harsh downfall. The health care system has collapsed too.
The deadly SARS-Cov-2 first banged the capital of Amazonas, Manaus, the seventh-largest Brazil city. On 17 March 2020, Brazil reported the first death due to coronavirus. However, research conducted in April rendered 5% of the Manaus population capable of surviving the infection due to pre-existing immunoglobulins against the COVID-19, with this count bulging to 53% by June.
However, the perturbation increased when the death rate surged to 1000 deaths per day by June 2020. The hospital in Manaus thought they were ready to combat the lethal virus, and they did so in the first wave. But, the virus struck about two-third of the population, out of which the mass population recovered. True that the people developed immunity against the infection and recovered.
The Outbreak of SARS Mutants
When things were getting better, the night terror struck for the second time when the SRAS-Cov-2 resurfaced in mid-December with two major mutants, namely the E484 mutant and the N501Y mutant. The virus was mutating ever since it showed up. Some mutations were nugatory, while some were impactful. However, the precautions were the same for all variants, and everything seems under control.
According to clinical news reporter Elisabeth Maitha, the E484 variant can break free from the counterattack of natural active immunity. The N501Y mutant is marked epidemiologically more virulent and contagious.
Excess coughing and fatigue are the most prominent symptoms linked with these mutants dominating Brazil. These mutant strains were reported first in Brazils’ travelers and wreaked havoc later in numerous Amazonas cities, most notably Manaus. The second devastating wave owes to multiple factors. Firstly, most infected people don’t manifest the symptoms implementing a notion that the infection has subsided.
Secondly, as soon as the death toll dropped in August, the public was allowed access to shopping malls and beaches. This decision soon put the natives and visitors in peril. Simultaneously, the virologists were confident that the recovered people could remain immune to the infection over a long period to protect the imperiled population. Unfortunately, this thought has been put to an end. The antibody number decreases in the bloodstream over time, allowing a recovered person to succumb to the mutant strains in the future.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate at which antibodies against SARS-Cov-2 decline in bodies is unpredictable. A study conducted over 156 frontline workers revealed that the antibody immunity started descent after two months in 146 workers.
The variants might not be equally effective in all areas based on the climate changes and differences in people’s immunity potential. Still, a little search on the infection’s genomic sequence reveals potential genetic diversity. As a result, the health care system in Brazil and many other countries like the UK, India, and South Africa with reported mutants of COVID-19 will have to take drastic measures to alleviate the death toll.
The Effects of Second Wave of Pandemic
As the death toll in Brazil surged to a pinnacle, mass traffic from sites like Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte rushed the hospitals of Manaus as the cities lacked ICU-equipped hospitals. Due to Manaus hospital’s ICU’s rushing, people are dying of asphyxia (lack of oxygen).
The mayor of Manus, David Almeida, recently told the media that Manaus was the first Brazilian city to see its public health system break down and recover. Now we are back, in this second wave, to a collapse. Also, the OSWALD CRUZ FOUNDATION stated that the death toll in Rio DE Janeiro has increased in quarantine, not only due to coronavirus but many nutritional, genetic, and endocrinological diseases like diabetes and hemophilia. A lack of medical care accounts for such disturbing reports in Brazil, which has become a focal point of the novel pandemic.
With the emergence of the P1 variant and a disastrous second wave of COVID-19, nineteen more advanced and virulent mutants are susceptible. Thus, even if Brazil’s inhabitants develop immunity for the present mutants, the virus will break out with freshly sequenced strains to bypass the third line of defense that’s our immune system to cause disease.
The frontline health workers are bone tired and exhausted fighting the pandemic, but it is questionable why the infection has become invincible. It is due to the lack of protection time the intrinsic immunity offers. Before the health support system of affected countries manages to get back on track, another mutant and more transmissible shows up, shattering its pillars.
Importance of Immunization
A long-term and more effective solution lies in immunization. The immune response generated by vaccines against the SARS-Cov-2 seems more effective and fruitful than the natural immune response. Like the U.S, the U.K, and Russia can avoid a state like that of the world’s developing countries. Only one out of many developing countries has managed to vaccinate its people to avoid sharing the same fate as Brazil. Although Brazil is a conceivably important quester of the vaccine, it is assumed that it won’t be available to the country.
Brazil’s active role helped it close two deals with China and AstraZeneca. Still, political friction and desultory planning have bereft the country of any credible plan, says the New York Times. Another report by The Latin Times states that the Brazil variant has been reported in California’s Bay area.
The rapidly spreading pandemic with emerging mutations is an evident nudge that the novel coronavirus doesn’t respect borders, and the whole world is on this altogether.
The universal vaccine distribution is the most effective way to combat this pandemic on the global level. It is stupefying how the wealthy countries feel like hoarding vaccines will save their population. In contrast, only one out of ten people in seventy-two striving countries will get the vaccination. We can’t associate this virus with a specific country as a conspiracy to alleviate world hunger by ending overpopulation. During the pandemic, people are dying of starvation anyway.
The most effective way that experts came up with is to focus on the vaccination of numerous countries rather than vaccinating all the people of a single country because the virus mutants are highly transmissible. The immunity will decline with time. This will prevent a particular area from becoming the epicenter of a pandemic and buying a longer immunity time. Manufacturers may develop the most efficacious vaccine by alleviating the death pole’s stress and focusing more on the solution.
A Legitimate Solution is Inevitable
A clear-cut strategy to bring down the overall virulence rate verifies that everyone is vaccinated, not only all citizens of a single country. Vaccine distribution to other countries shall not be a subject of impartiality or transience but an investment in the world’s future. By avoiding the incumbent measures, the significant authorities are putting the peace of the world at stake.
Sooner or later, the world will end up divided into two levels tearing each other apart. The wealthy country will approach 100% vaccination count immunizing every person in the country. The death toll in these countries may fall with every person living a healthy life, and the frontline medical and paramedical expert may lead a healthier life, but for how long?
Many developing countries like Africa, where 2.5 million health workers are still unvaccinated, will bear the brunt of wealthy countries’ ignorance. In addition, the mutant strains forming due to their vaccinations will affect the unvaccinated people and can re-infect the vaccinated ones with vaccines’ ineffectiveness.
Moreover, Western countries’ hoarding of vaccines and their bilateral deals may leave millions of people susceptible to death by the coronavirus. Owing to such conditions, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that the least developed, the underdeveloped, and the island states will face severe socio-economic, remittance, and food supply issues.
Therefore, it is clear how the Brazil variant exposes the world’s vulnerability to vaccines’ irrational distribution worldwide. Therefore, drastic measures need to be taken immediately to prevent the world order from collapsing because, with each respective wave, the virulence and transmission capacity of mutants will prevail.
To avoid the recursive trajectory of pandemics and to phase down lockdown periods and a crumbling economy, we need to develop more impartial views and distribution of the vaccine. Furthermore, COVAX is a notable struggle by WHO and CEPI to set a seal on “No one is safe unless everyone is safe.”