New coronavirus variant 'Eek' found in Japan, lowers vaccine protection

Japan, currently reeling under a new wave of Covid-19, reportedly anticipates fresh trouble over the E484K mutation of the coronavirus, nicknamed 'Eek' by scientists.
People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk at Umeda's downtown area in Osaka, western Japan, Sunday, April 4, 2021. (AP)
People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk at Umeda's downtown area in Osaka, western Japan, Sunday, April 4, 2021. (AP)
Published on Apr 05, 2021 02:18 PM IST
Copy Link
By | Written by Joydeep Bose

As the coronavirus continues to mutate, a new variant, nicknamed 'Eek' by scientists, has now emerged in Japan, news agency Reuters reported on Sunday. Citing Japan's public broadcaster NHK, the agency reported that the new E484K mutation, known for reducing vaccine protection, was detected in around 70% of the coronavirus disease patients at a Tokyo hospital last month.

According to the NHK report, reviewed by Reuters, the E484K mutation was found in as many as 10 out of 14 Covid-19 patients at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University Hospital, back in March. For two months, 12 of 36 Covid-19 patients carried the mutation, but none of them had recently travelled abroad or reported contact with people who had, the report said.

Variants of the coronavirus have cropped up around the world since last year. Japan is presently grappling with a fresh wave of coronavirus infections, a worrying trend ahead of the summer Tokyo Olympics planned for July. On Sunday, 355 new infections were reported in Tokyo, although that is still well below the peak of over 2,500 in January. A total of 594 new coronavirus disease cases were reported in Osaka prefecture on Sunday, a day after a record 666 were confirmed.

Also Read: Covid-19: Japan to expand emergency measures as needed amid fears of new strains

Although large-scale vaccinations of the general population have not yet begun, health experts are particularly worried about the spread of mutant strains, Reuters reported, adding that hospital officials were not immediately available for comment.

Japan's prime minister Yoshihide Suga said on Sunday that he would expand emergency measures as needed to contain the new wave of coronavirus infections, amid fears over the spread of virus mutations. Asked on a Fuji TV programme whether Tokyo might be added to a list of areas set to come under lockdown, Suga simply said, "All possibilities are being considered. It doesn't matter specifically where, we will act without hesitation if needed."

(With inputs from Reuters)

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Representative Image

    Porn clips played on display screens at airport in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro

    Passengers at an airport in Brazil's second-largest city of Rio de Janeiro were in for a shock when electronic displays at the facility began showing pornographic scenes--instead of advertisements and flight information--in an apparent case of hacking. Santos Dumont is the second airport in Rio de Janeiro, after the main Gaelao International Airport. Named after Brazilian aviation pioneer, Alberto Santos Dumont, it is both a public and military facility.

  • Representational image.

    At least 31 die in church stampede in southern Nigeria

    At least 31 people died in Nigeria on Saturday during a stampede at a church in the southern Rivers state, a police spokesperson said. Hundreds of people who had turned up to receive food at the church early on Saturday broke through a gate, causing the stampede, police spokesperson for Rivers state, Grace Iringe-Koko said.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in Moscow.

    Putin willing to discuss resuming Ukrainian grain shipments from Black Sea ports

    The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin told the leaders of France and Germany on Saturday that Moscow was willing to discuss ways to make it possible for Ukraine to resume shipments of grain from Black Sea ports. Putin spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz over the phone.

  • A board at the Utopia School District. (AFP)

    After Uvalde tragedy, a Texas school says staff can carry guns on campus

    In the wake of Tuesday's shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in which 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 children and two teachers before being fatally shot by the police, the only school in the small town of Utopia, also in Texas, has said its teachers and staff can carry guns on campus to prevent an Uvalde-like tragedy.

  • Around 200 suspected or confirmed cases of Monkeypox have been reported from 20 countries, 

    Argentina, Ireland…: Which countries reported Monkeypox cases in last 48 hours

    The Monkeypox cases continue to rise across the world, with more than 200 suspected or confirmed cases being reported from across 20 countries. The Americas and Europe have witnessed a higher surge in infections, but the Monkeypox cases have also been reported in Australia and the Middle East. Here are the countries where the Monkeypox infections were reported in the last 48 hours.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 28, 2022