Japanese Scientists Found a New Variant of Covid-19

Specialists at the Japanese National Institute of Infectious Diseases say they have identified a new mutation of the coronavirus, different from those that are spreading in the  UK or  South Africa, in four people who flew to the country from  Brazil.

On January 6, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases identified a new mutation of the new coronavirus in four people who arrived on January 2 (in  Japan  – ed.) From Brazil, the press release said on Sunday.

According to the institute, the new mutation overlaps with mutations of concern because of their higher contagiousness. As clarified, in turn, the Kyodo agency with reference to the head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases Takaji Wakitu, we are talking about the similarity with the mutations identified in the UK and South Africa.

The illustration in the press release specifies that the new strain contains the N501Y mutation in the key contact region of the spike protein, which is present in both the “British” and “South African” strains, as well as the E484K mutation in the spike protein, which is present only in the “South African” strain. At the same time, the new mutation lacks the so-called “dropouts” of amino acids in a number of positions.

Our data on a new mutation are limited to information on the nucleotide sequence of genes. In this regard, it is currently difficult to assess the level of pathogenicity, contagiousness, effectiveness of test methods or vaccines, the document emphasizes.

According to Japanese media reports, a man in his 40s is currently hospitalized due to breathing problems. A woman has a sore throat and headaches, and a child has a fever. The disease is the fourth of the infected is still asymptomatic.

In mid-December, it became known about the discovery in the UK of a new mutation of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The UK’s Advisory Board on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats later confirmed that the variant of the coronavirus identified in the country is spreading at a faster rate and requires even more caution from the population.

Although the new variant of the virus, according to preliminary estimates, maybe 70% more infectious than the usual one, there is still nothing to suggest that it is more dangerous in terms of death or hospitalization.

Another mutation, strain 501. V2 was first identified in South Africa in October. According to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), this species is now the dominant form of the virus in South Africa. Preliminary studies have shown that this strain, like the one found in the UK, is more infectious, but there is no evidence yet that it affects the severity of the disease.


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