Scholars explain mysterious disappearance of Delta variant in Japan — Analysis

Japan’s fifth wave of Covid-19 has virtually disappeared so dramatically that some scientists are puzzled as to why it happened. The highly infectious Delta strain could have caused the nation’s extinction, according to one team.

Japan saw a spike in Covid-19 infection rates between August and September, with more than 23,000 cases being reported each day. The death toll from the disease is now just 170.

Although many believe the decrease was due to low vaccination rates or acceptance of masks by the public, others have suggested that this drop is unique to countries in similar circumstances.

Ituro Itoue is a National Institute of Genetics geneticist who believes Japan was blessed with the opportunity to see the Delta strain mostly eradicate other forms of the SARS/CoV-2 virus. He explained his team’s theory to the Japan Times newspaper this week.

Inoue, along with his colleagues, have been studying mutations in SARS-CoV-2. They also studied how the proteins nsp14 affect them. This is critical for virus reproduction.

Covid-19 and other RNA viruses have high mutation rates, which allows them to adapt quickly to environmental changes. But this also opens the doors to a new type of virus called “RNA viruses.” “error catastrophe,”Bad mutations can build up to the point of total extinction. The virus genome is able to remain below the threshold of detection by using error proofreading thanks to the protein nsp14. “error catastrophe.”

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In the case of Japan’s fifth wave of Covid-19, the Delta variant’s nsp14 failed at this job, Inoue believes, based on the genetic study of specimens collected from June to October. Contrary to his team’s expectations, there was a lack of genetic diversity, while many samples had many genetic changes in the site called A394V, which is linked to the error-fixing protein.

“We were literally shocked to see the findings,”The researcher spoke to Japan Times. “The Delta variant in Japan was highly transmissible and [was]While excluding other variations. But as the mutations piled up, we believe it eventually became a faulty virus and it was unable to make copies of itself.”

The theory could be relevant to the previous SARS strain, which was identified in 2003, explaining why it didn’t cause a pandemic. But that would be hard to confirm, since the outbreak ended relatively quickly and didn’t result in the massive collection of genetic data necessary to test the hypothesis.

It’s not clear why Japan had this lucky turn of events, but nothing comparable happened in other East Asian countries like South Korea, where populations are genetically close to that of Japan. Inoue stated that virus mutations in 24 other countries have also been identified. Inoue and his colleagues plan to publish a paper describing their discoveries by November’s end.

Although the natural extinction theory might be true, the Japanese population will experience a brief respite. Inoue says that the chances of new and more productive strains eventually coming into Japan are high, but quarantine controls and immigration control may slow the process.

Tokyo, which is currently preparing for the arrival of Covid-19 in its winter waves, is already preparing to deal with it. According to reports, the government plans to relax travel restrictions and increase the daily number of persons allowed to enter the country from 3,500 to 5, 000.

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