Japanese novel Coronavirus mutation, Dangerous?

Japanese novel Coronavirus mutation, Dangerous?

Novel Coronavirus mutation in Japan

The second wave of coVID-19 in Japan has not abated. Kyodo News agency said on September 9 that the number of newly confirmed cases in Tokyo alone was as high as 331. To make matters worse, a new study from the National Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan has found that the novel Coronavirus that has proliferated in Japan since June is a mutated version of a novel irus with a new genetic sequence. Will the mutated virus affect neighboring countries?
According to The Yomiuri Shimbun, the first wave of epidemic in Japan that started in March this year was mainly caused by novel Coronavirus, a related genetic sequence from Europe, which had subsided temporarily in late May. But starting in mid-June, novel Coronavirus with a new genetic sequence appeared centered in Tokyo and spread throughout Japan. Most of the large increase in confirmed cases in Japan is in people infected with the mutated virus.

Impact on the new crown vaccine

Another topic of concern is whether the new mutated virus in Japan will affect the coVID-19 vaccine under development. Vaccine expert Tao Lina told the Global Times on Monday that the coVID-19 vaccines are all based on virus strains isolated from December to January this year. There has been some variation in the strain, but it remains to be seen whether vaccines need to be adjusted. The key, he stressed, is whether the mutation is a key site for vaccine action, and there is no evidence that it is. Taulina believes that with the first generation of coVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine is 80% complete. Even if the virus mutates, the new strain can be incorporated into the vaccine, which could in theory be made into a multi-valent vaccine, just as the cervical cancer and flu vaccines are.

Protection against viruses

Another medical expert, who asked not to be named, told the Global Times on Tuesday that RNA polymerases have low fidelity, so it is not surprising that RNA viruses (both coronavirus and influenza virus are RNA viruses) are prone to mutations. In general, there is not much to worry about, because the vast majority of mutations in the virus will not lead to changes in its immunogenicity and antigenicity, and will not affect the effectiveness of the vaccine, so there is generally no need to take preventive measures against the mutation of the virus.
"Novel Coronavirus mutation" should not be a cause for alarm, Mr. Yeung said. "Just keep the normal guard I highlighted before, i.e. wear masks, wash hands frequently and take self-protection measures when going out to public places."


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