Latest updates: research suggests variant has potential to evade immune protection from previous illness or vaccines
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The coronavirus variant originally found in Manaus in Brazil and now detected in six cases in the UK was able to evade 25% to 61% of the protection people in the Amazonian city had after a first bout of Covid, researchers say.
An international team of scientists is calling for more genetic sequencing of emerging variants around the world, warning that only with knowledge of how Sars-CoV-2 is mutating can the pandemic be brought under control.
According to an Office for National Statistics survey, an estimated one person in four in England would have tested positive for antibodies against Covid in the four weeks up to 11 February. Having antibodies provides protection against the virus (although not necessarily 100% protection.)
Testing positive for antibodies means someone has either had the virus in the past or been vaccinated (although not everyone who has been infected in the past tests positive – because antibody levels decline over time).