Molecular testing and analysis of disease spreading during the emergence of COVID-19 in Macaé, the Brazilian National Capital of Oil

Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 11;11(1):20121. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99475-7.


The Brazilian strategy to overcome the spread of COVID-19 has been particularly criticized due to the lack of a national coordinating effort and an appropriate testing program. Here, a successful approach to control the spread of COVID-19 transmission is described by the engagement of public (university and governance) and private sectors (hospitals and oil companies) in Macaé, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a city known as the National Oil Capital. In 2020 between the 17th and 38th epidemiological week, over two percent of the 206,728 citizens were subjected to symptom analysis and RT-qPCR testing by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, with positive individuals being notified up to 48 h after swab collection. Geocodification and spatial cluster analysis were used to limit COVID-19 spreading in Macaé. Within the first semester after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Brazil, Macaé recorded 1.8% of fatalities associated with COVID-19 up to the 38th epidemiological week, which was at least five times lower than the state capital (10.6%). Overall, considering the successful experience of this joint effort of private and public engagement in Macaé, our data suggest that the development of a similar strategy countrywise could have contributed to a better control of the COVID-19 spread in Brazil. Quarantine decree by the local administration, comprehensive molecular testing coupled to scientific analysis of COVID-19 spreading, prevented the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic as seen in other populous cities within the state of Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere in Brazil.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / transmission
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cities / epidemiology
  • Cities / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics / statistics & numerical data*
  • RNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification*
  • Young Adult


  • RNA, Viral