A ministry official said studies were underway into the efficacy of vaccines against the new variant, which differs from highly-infectious variants first found in Britain and South Africa that have driven a surge in cases.
“At the moment, there is no proof showing the new variant found in those from Brazil is high in infectiousness,” Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), said. Still, Brazil’s health ministry said it has been notified by Japan’s authorities that the new variant has 12 mutations, and one of them has already been identified also in the variants found in the UK and in South Africa. “It implies in a potential higher virus infectiousness,” it said.
Of the four people who arrived at Tokyo on January 2, a man in his forties had a problem breathing, a woman in her thirties had a headache and sore throat and a man in his teens had a fever, while a woman in her teens showed no symptoms, the ministry said. The WHO has been informed of the new strain. reuters