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Mobile lab sequences variants

São Paulo State Government

In early August, Aparecida, a municipality in São Paulo with about 40,000 residents, was the first to welcome the Butantan Institute’s mobile laboratory, designed to test suspected COVID-19 cases and sequence the virus’s genetic material to monitor the emergence of new variants in the state of São Paulo (Boletim do Instituto Butantan, August 4). The mobile lab is installed in a shipping container and will spend one week in each municipality, examining around 500 samples. The test results are available within 24 hours and the genome sequencing in search of mutations takes up to six days. By July 24, seven laboratories in a network coordinated by Butantan had sequenced 15,507 genomes and identified 25 SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in the state of São Paulo. The predominant strain was gamma (89.8% of cases), which emerged in Brazil and is also known as P.1.