Could the Delta Variant simply just go away? It sure looks that way experts say.
The Delta Covid variant may mutate itself into self-extinction and has already done so in one part of the world, scientists claim.
Japan is recording an insignificant 140 cases a day despite being riddled with the Delta strain only three months ago.
Japan’s Covid cases drastically fell after an August peak. Some scientists believe Delta “self-destructing” plays a role.
Japan endured its largest Covid wave in the late summer, with cases peaking at around 23,000 a day in August.
But the wave came to an abrupt standstill and has almost completely fizzled out, with the capital Tokyo recording just 16 new cases on Friday.
A team of genetic experts in Japan have theorised the sudden slump in coronavirus is because Delta has taken care of its demise through mutating.
As a virus replicates, its genes undergo random “copying errors” which, over time, lead to changes in the viruses’ makeup.
Researchers led by the National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan, focused on the Delta virus’s error-correcting enzyme called nsp14.
Here, they found many genetic changes and then a sudden stop in the evolution process.
Ituro Inoue, a genetics professor at the National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan made the following statements to The Sun.
“We were literally shocked to see the findings,” Prof Inoue said.
“The Delta variant in Japan was highly transmissible and keeping other variants out.
“But as the mutations piled up, we believe it eventually became a faulty virus and it was unable to make copies of itself.
“Considering that the cases haven’t been increasing, we think that at some point during such mutations it headed straight toward its natural extinction.”
Prof Inoue said the virus would still be spreading if Delta were “alive and well”.
Dr Simon Clarke, Head of Division of Biomedical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at University of Reading, explained metaphorically how Delta could die out.
He told The Sun: “The virus accumulates too many mutations and therefore stops being able to replicate.
“When you get a virus like that, it just dies out. It’s like a person that never has children, their genetic material stops, end of the road.
“That doesn’t mean that everyone else stops producing children.”
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