Japan Reports the Discovery of New Coronavirus Variant on January 10

Japan Reports the Discovery of New Coronavirus Variant on January 10

A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in four people who traveled to Japan from Brazil.

Takaji Wakita, the head of the Japanese health authority, announced on January 10 that it is not identical to the pathogen variants that have so far been detected in Great Britain and South Africa. There is currently no evidence that the newly discovered variant is more contagious.

The four people came from the Amazon region in Brazil on January 2, landed in Tokyo, and immediately quarantined at Haneda Airport, said the Japanese Ministry of Health. A man over 40 years old is now in the hospital after developing acute breathing problems. Two other passengers would have symptoms such as sore throats, headaches, and fever. 

A teenage person did not develop any symptoms.

With viruses, random changes in the genetic material, called mutations, occur constantly. Some give the pathogen advantages - for example by making it easier to transmit. In December, a variant of the coronavirus (B.1.1.7) was detected in Great Britain and a similar one (501Y.V2) in South Africa, which, according to initial analyzes, could be more contagious than the ones currently in circulation.

Other Coronavirus Developments of the Day

  • Pope Francis makes calls for vaccinations.
  • Austria wants to distribute free quick tests for students before school starts.
  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth and her husband Philip have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
  • London Mayor Khan declares a major situation because of the extremely high number of infections.
  • The EU orders up to 300 million doses of the BioNTech vaccine.