Variant Strain Infections Feared to Spike in Tokyo Area
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Tokyo, April 18 (Jiji Press)--As Japan faces a fourth wave of novel coronavirus infections, many fear that the variant strains spreading rapidly in western Japan may wreak havoc in the Tokyo metropolitan region as well.
The National Institute of Infectious Diseases believes that infections of the variant strains may make up 80 pct to 90 pct of all coronavirus cases in the Tokyo area by early May.
According to the health ministry, genome analyses have revealed that 271 people in 21 Japanese prefectures were infected with variant strains by March 9. As of Tuesday, the figure rose over four-fold to 1,141 people across 42 prefectures.
Japan has seen mainly four variant strains--one originating from Britain, one from South Africa, one from Brazil and one of unknown origin.
The British strain, which is behind over 94 pct of all domestic variant infection cases, contains the “N501Y” mutation which enables the virus’ spike protein, used to infiltrate human cells, to bind with its target more strongly.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]