About 70% of covid-19 patients tested at a Tokyo hospital last month carried a variant known to reduce the protection offered by the vaccine, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said on Sunday.
The E484K variant, dubbed “Eek” by some scientists, was found in 10 of the 14 people tested positive for the virus at Tokyo University of Medicine and Dentistry Hospital in March, the broadcaster said.
For two months until March, 12 of 36 covid-19 patients carried the variant, and none of them had recently traveled abroad or reported contact with people who did, NHK said.
Hospital officials were not immediately available for comment.
With the Olympics scheduled to start in July, Japan is fighting a new wave of infections. Health experts are particularly concerned about the spread of mutant strains, even though large-scale vaccination of the population has not yet begun.
On Friday, 446 new infections were reported in Tokyo, although the number is still well below the peak of more than 2,500 new cases daily in January.
[17:13] Andre Cunha Avelar
Copyright © Thomson Reuters.
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