Japan detects first case of Eta . strain

The Japanese Ministry of Health recorded 18 cases of Eta infection, belonging to the WHO’s notable nCoV strain, after it was detected in the UK last year.

18 cases of Eta mutation were detected through genetic analysis in patient samples taken from people who tested positive for nCoV at isolation centers after entering Japan from December 2020 to present.

This is the first time this country has detected the Eta strain, which has appeared in more than 70 countries, of which the infections are mainly in the US and Europe. Japan is facing a record increase in infections due to the Delta mutation. The country currently records more than 1.6 million cases of nCoV, of which more than 16,500 people have died.

Medical staff examine Covid-19 patients at a hospital in Sapporo, Japan, in August. Photo: AFP.

Medical staff examine Covid-19 patients at a hospital in Sapporo, Japan, in August. Photo: AFP.

Much of Japan is in a state of emergency, but anti-Covid-19 measures are often only recommendations, depending on people’s consciousness. Many people have expressed frustration with the stay-at-home order, with many bars refusing to comply with the recommendations to limit customer service given by the authorities.

The Eta variant was first discovered in the UK in December last year. The World Health Organization included it in the category of Variant of Concern (VOI) in March of this year, alongside the Iota, Kappa and Lambda variants.

VOI is less dangerous than the group of “worrying strains” (VOC), which includes Alpha and Delta strains.

Experts are concerned about the rampant emergence of new virus strains, as the global infection rate continues to increase rapidly. The Delta strain is predominating, especially among the unvaccinated and in areas where restrictions are eased.

All viruses, including nCoV, mutate over time. These mutations have little or no effect on the character of the virus, but some will make it easier for the pathogen to spread, increase symptom severity, and cause vaccine resistance or immune evasion.

Vu Anh (Follow NHK)

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