All the Covid cases related to Copa America, which have been examined so far, are of the Gamma type, a strain discovered in Manaus. The data is from a standardized prospectus of Conmebol, dated July 5, which was released from Leaf He has access.
People associated with the study of the epidemic in Brazil criticize the lack of transparency in the information provided by the South American Confederation and the Ministry of Health, which is seen as an obstacle to understanding the true effects of the tournament in the country.
The article spoke with researchers from Fiocruz – some of whom asked not to be identified – as well as scientists from other institutions, who work daily with Covid-19. None of them were informed of these epidemiological details during the competition. They claimed to know the case numbers only through the press.
Fucruz is the arm of the Ministry of Health responsible for epidemiological surveillance of the coronavirus in Brazil. Its virology sector has been accredited by the World Health Organization to carry out this follow-up.
The Copa America ends on Saturday (10) with the final match between Brazil and Argentina, in the Maracana, at 9 pm.
So far, 168 cases of COVID-19 have been detected among the tournament participants. Of these, genetic sequencing (the assay to determine the virus strain) was performed in 38, the process has already been completed for 22 and the result was a gamma variable.
“It seems to me a deliberate omission of data. The sense in doing genomic monitoring is to say what that gene profile is, and it is rolled out in order to take the necessary measures,” says Jasem Orellana, from Fucruz-Amazonia.
He stresses that the fact that researchers associated with Covid are not aware of such data shows that this is an information transparency problem.
“When you hide the score or play it after the Copa America final, for example, you say you did it [o acompanhamento] To do so, because the purpose of surveillance is for you to use it to make epidemiological decisions. Researchers should have access, it’s another transparency issue,” he adds.
“We don’t know that [os dados]. should know. I am from Vuecruz, I participate in these committees [de Covid]I’ve never heard of it before, says lung scientist and researcher Margareth Dalcomo.
She sees the lack of transparency as contributing to another epidemic, the spread of misinformation or poor quality.
“Given the epidemiological severity that we are witnessing, any surveillance must be disclosed. Transparency of scientific information is essential for Brazilian society. My idea as a physician is that every discovery should be [divulgada]After all, the Copa America is a public event,” he adds.
“I don’t know the exact reason for arriving [às informações] didn’t get them [pesquisadores]. Ideally, they should have access, and I don’t know where the problem is. But if you don’t have the information, you don’t know what you’re doing. All information is important to everyone as a whole, and not having access to it in general will limit you,” says Marcio Bettencourt, an epidemiologist at University of the South Pacific Hospital.
The report asked the Ministry of Health for genome data (about variants) related to Copa America.
The ministry replied that “CONMEBOL is responsible for conducting genetic testing and sequencing to analyze potential variants.”
He was therefore asked whether genetic sequence information was transferred or should be moved to the folder daily, and then to Fiocruz later. There has been no response to this topic as of the date this text was published.
When questioned, Conmebol claims to perform genetic sequencing of foreigners participating in the Copa America, but it does not perform the same with Brazilians who have tested positive for Covid-19.
“I think the main thing is this, to see if someone fetches or parses a new variable. If I had to choose [quais testes sequenciar]This is the group I would choose,” says Bettencourt, of the fact that the South American Confederation is only doing the most advanced study on infected foreigners.
On the other hand, some consider the analysis of Brazilian cases important. “It would make sense if they lived on small islands [fazer só de estrangeiros], each pick on an island. Since they are in constant contact throughout the tournament, it doesn’t make sense,” Orellana argues.
On Wednesday (7), Minister Marcelo Quiroga said that a report with detailed data will be released even before the end of the tournament.
As of Tuesday (6), of the total number of cases, 37 were players and delegates, 126 were external providers and 5 were from CONMEBOL (which includes referees, doctors and logistics personnel, according to the file.
“The first issue we have to ask is that the right thing to do is to survey all the people directly or indirectly participating in the tournament. Random tracking and mass testing. Of course not from the whole of Brazil, but they can do it easily within the sub-population participating in the Copa America, Which will not exceed 20 thousand people, Orellana also criticizes.
He says that 168 cases is a low number given that already in the first week of the tournament, more than 140 cases have been registered, and that the coronavirus is spreading quickly.
Therefore, it indicates that there may be a lack of notification, since the status of people who may be in contact with others participating in the tournament is not monitored.
The gamma variable has been identified in all tests so far, which is an “encouragement” for researcher Margareth Dalcomo, who has seen significant risks in importing new variables.
The strain called lambda, for example, was initially found in the Andean region and in studies presents a greater risk than others.
“If there’s only a gamma variable, then what you have to think about is that this guy takes it here and can get rid of it. So a country that doesn’t have that much of that kind can worry. The question is, ‘Who gets what and who goes?” Bettencourt asks.
According to experts, the amount of sequencing performed – 38 out of 168 cases, or 22.6% – is not a problem. As they say, it outperforms the average of Brazil (less than 1% of the total number of confirmed) and countries like the United Kingdom (about 10%).
“This is a complex exam. This is a reasonable number, 38. It is better to order at least half of the samples. Looking only at the results already obtained, it does not reach 20% of cases [o mínimo cientificamente válido]Oriana says.
“Sequencing has a cost, but it is very important in this time of the pandemic in the world. In theory, you can sequence all cases, but Copa America sequences more than 20%, it is already a spectacle,” Dalcomo adds.
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