The Delta variant, Considered the one of greatest concern so far, due to its high level of transmissibility and capacity to cause a serious form of the disease, it has had a peculiar behavior in Japan: ‘self-extinguishing’.
An article of The Japan Times questions this phenomenon: “Why did the fifth and largest wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Japan, driven by the super contagious Delta variant, suddenly come to an abrupt end after a seemingly relentless rise in new infections?”
“The surprising answer may be that the Delta variant cared for itself in an act of “self-extinguishing”explains the newspaper, citing a group of researchers.
And it is that the panorama in the country took a drastic turn, three months after this variant generated a record number of daily cases throughout the country of almost 26 thousand, new COVID infections began to collapse, falling below the 200 cases in recent weeks.
Among the reasons for this significant collapse in coronavirus cases are high vaccination rates, social distancing measures and the mandatory use of face masks. However, there is an explanation related to the genetic changes that the coronavirus undergoes during reproduction.
“According to a potentially revolutionary theory proposed by Ituro Inoue, professor at the National Institute of Genetics, the Delta variant in Japan accumulated too many mutations in the non-structural error-correcting protein of the virus called nsp14. As a result, the virus struggled to fix the errors in time, which ultimately led to “self-destruction”, explains the Japanese newspaper.
“A similar natural extinction of the coronavirus may be observed abroad,” Inoue said. He added that detecting that would be difficult since no other country, so far, appears to have accumulated as many mutations in the virus’ nsp14 as in Japan.