Another New Coronavirus Variant Found in Japan

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Jan. 10 (Jiji Press)--Another new variant of the novel coronavirus has been found in Japan, from four people who had arrived in the nation from Brazil and tested positive in airport quarantine, the health ministry said Sunday.

The new mutant strain is different from variants that were detected in Britain and South Africa, respectively, and reported also in Japan, but shares part of the mutation features with the previously found variants, according to the ministry.

There is almost no information on the transmissibility of the newly found variant, whether it could cause severe symptoms and possible impacts on the effectiveness of vaccines. The National Institute of Infectious Diseases has reported the discovery to the World Health Organization and is conducting detailed research on the new variant.

Of the four people, who flew into Tokyo International Airport at Haneda from Brazil on Jan. 2, a man in his 40s showed no symptoms upon arrival, but later developed breathing difficulties and was hospitalized, the ministry said. A woman in her 30 has symptoms such as headache. A man in the age group of 10-19 has a fever, while a woman in the same age group is free of symptoms.

The newly found variant has the same mutation pattern as that in the variant detected in Britain, which is highly transmissible, in the structure of the spike protein on the surface, according to the ministry. The virus attaches to human cells using the spike protein.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press