• Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

Covid Japan, Delta variant disappeared: ‘self-destruction’ hypothesis

Byeditorial

Nov 25, 2021

In Japan, the fifth and largest wave of the covid pandemic, led by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, suddenly stopped following a seemingly unstoppable increase in new infections. But what happened? According to a group of researchers from the National Institute of Genetics and the University of Niigata, the explanation would be in the continuous mutations of the virus that would have actually killed Covid. A sort of natural ‘self-extinction’ due to errors in a protein, nsp14. Japan experienced its biggest wave of Covid in late summer, peaking around 23,000 cases per day in August. But the wave stopped abruptly and in recent days the Tokyo metropolitan government has reported only 5 new cases of coronavirus positivity. According to a “potentially revolutionary” theory put forward by Genetics expert Professor Ituro Inoue, the Delta variant has simply accumulated too many mutations in the virus’s bug-correcting protein called nsp14. Here the researchers found many genetic changes and then a sudden stop in the process of evolution. Professor Inoue says the virus struggled to fix errors and keep replicating, but ultimately caused its own “self-destruction”. “We were literally shocked to see the results,” Inoue told the Japan Times. When a virus replicates, its genes undergo random “copy errors” which, over time, lead to changes in the composition of the viruses. Mutations can make it more able to spread, dodge immunity, or cause serious illness. But on occasion, these mutations become “evolutionary dead ends,” experts say. Some experts have attributed the decrease in cases to the country’s 76.2% vaccination rate and strong adherence to the use of masks, but according to Professor Inoue, new infections would still be on the rise if the Delta strain were still “alive and well. well “. “If the virus were alive and well, cases would certainly increase, as masks and vaccination do not prevent infections in some cases,” he said.

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