In Japan, the Delta variant could have led to “natural extinction,” said Ituro Inoue, a researcher quoted by The Japan Times. According to him, it came about after a few mutations that made him unable to make his own copy.
This ‘potentially revolutionary’ theory aims to explain the sudden, sharp decline in the number of cases of infection with the Delta variant in Japan. The country’s population of 125 million has been on alert since the start of the pandemic, especially after the highly infectious Delta variant broke through its borders in 2021.
At the peak of the fifth wave, approximately 26,000 cases of the coronavirus were recorded daily. Meanwhile, countries around the world, including Australia, introduced blockades to protect themselves from the Delta.
Japan. COVID-19 pandemic
In November, the epidemiological situation improved in Japan. There have been fewer than 200 cases of infections in recent weeks, and Friday (November 19) was the first day with no COVID-19 death in 15 months.
In the capital city of Tokyo, where 40 million people live, only six new cases of coronavirus infections were confirmed on Monday.
The Delta variant likely accumulated too many mutations in a coronavirus error-correcting protein called nsp14, according to a ‘potentially revolutionary’ theory put forward by Japan Times researcher Professor Ituro Inoue, a genetics expert at the National Institute of Genetics. The professor believes that the virus tried to fix the bugs in time and eventually caused “self-destruction”.
When the Delta variant first appeared, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it was more than twice as contagious as previous variants. The center warned that it could make the disease more severe in unvaccinated people. However, according to Inoue’s research, the opposite turned out to be the case. – We were literally shocked when we saw the results – said prof. Inoue to The Japan Times.
While some experts attribute the decrease in infection rates in Japan to vaccination (76.2 percent of the population is vaccinated) and strict adherence to mask wearing rules, Professor Inoue believes that further infections would increase if the Delta variant were still “alive and healthy”.
“If the virus were alive and well, the number of cases would surely increase, because wearing masks and vaccinating in some cases will not prevent breakthrough infections,” he said.
Japan lifted its state of emergency in early October, opening up society after a period of severe restrictions. Currently, it has one of the lowest infection rates among developed countries in the world, but prof. Inoue warns Japan is not immune to further potential coronavirus variants.
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