After the contagious, rapidly transmitting British strain of Covid-19, Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases NIID broke the news of new strain emerging in Japan, as authorities said to have found a new strain of the novel coronavirus in four passengers arriving from Brazil.
The NIID has now informed the World Health Organization about the new strain, reported in the Yomiuri Shimbun Japanese’s newspaper. Currently, the health institute is investigating the infectivity of this new variant.
As per the NIID, the new Japanese variant has found to exhibit the similarities to the recent Covid-19 strains found in the U.K. and South Africa.
However, the data is lacking, wanting for genetic and structural similarities, as it is not clear about the genetic make-up of the new variant, and it is clearly difficult to immediately determine how contagious the strain is. Neither its effectiveness, nor its response against the current ongoing vaccines is known, said the NIID.
“A new coronavirus variant has been detected in four travelers from Brazil’s Amazonas state. The strain differs from highly infectious variants first found in Britain and South Africa that have driven a surge in cases in those countries,” Japan’s health ministry said Sunday.
Japan may enter a state of emergency this week as the country grapples with soaring coronavirus cases, a number of which have been linked to a new, potentially more infectious variant. https://t.co/e6Kx1SHSwJ
— CNN (@CNN) January 4, 2021
The ministry of health, Japan, said that there are new studies underway, determining the efficacy of currently being tested vaccines against the new variant. At this time, it is uncertain to say anything about this strain, as it is unprecedented.
“At the moment, there is no proof showing the new variant found in those from Brazil is high in infectiousness,” Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), told a health ministry briefing.
In another statement, the Japan’s Ministry of Health said that the four passengers arrived from Brazil at the Japan’s Haneda airport from on January 2, 2021, were later diagnosed with a variant of the virus, including one male aged over 40, who was asymptomatic at the time of arrival, but later hospitalized as his respiratory system got worse.
Furthermore, there was a woman aged over 30 reported to have a headache and sore throat, a teenage male reported to fever, and a teenage girl showed no symptoms, the health ministry said. All four tested positive for the novel coronavirus in airport quarantine and the British variant had been found in three different people who have had close contact with a man infected with this new strain.
Well, crap. There’s now a second variant that originated in South Africa, seems to spread even more easily than B117 and might also reduce vaccine effectiveness, according to a new preprint. A third variant in Brazil shares this vaccine-related mutation: https://t.co/hMdLW7eHyu
— Melinda Wenner Moyer (@lindy2350) January 8, 2021
The Brazil’s Health Ministry said they had been notified from the concerned authorities from Japan that the new variant has found to have 12 mutations and one of the 12 mutations is similar to those variants found in the U.K. and South Africa.
Brazil’s Health Ministry also asked the Japanese government to provide the necessary information on the new variant and asked for the genetic sequence of the new strain.
However, the country is taking necessary precautions and sending a cautionary notice to related domestic organizations, as well as asked the Japanese ministry about the respective information on the travelers who have been staying in Brazil in order to track their possible contact with others, said the official.