Entering October, the number of confirmed cases of the new crown in Japan unexpectedly began to drop sharply. Japan’s epidemic prevention and control measures are not stronger than before, but are relaxing. This abnormal phenomenon is likely to be related to the mutation of the virus. Japanese researchers found The new mutation of the new coronavirus may cause the virus to self-death.
According to a report from Kyodo News on the 31st, the research team from Japan’s National Institute of Genetics and Niigata University recently published the latest research. Studies have found that in the genome of the delta mutant strain, an enzyme called “nsp14” has mutated, causing the virus to fail to complete repair in time, leading to the virus’s self-extinction.
In the process of rapid virus replication and spread, the genome sometimes undergoes wrong mutations, which is also one of the main causes of disease.
At this time, “nsp14” is generally responsible for repairing. However, if the repair is not timely and too many mutations are accumulated, the virus may not be able to reproduce.
Studies have found that among viruses with mutations in “nsp14”, the gene mutation of the virus is 10 to 20 times higher than that of the general virus. Therefore, when the number of cases in Japan reached its peak in late August, the “nsp14” in the new coronavirus had already mutated.
In the fifth wave of the epidemic, the proportion of viruses that have mutated “nsp14” has continued to increase as the infection expands. During the period from before the peak of the number of cases to the time when the number of cases subsided, it accounted for almost all of the infected cases. And the third wave of the epidemic from last fall to March this year also has the same tendency.
Therefore, Izuro Inoue, a professor at the National Institute of Genetics in Japan, believes that the reason why the number of cases in Japan will decrease,It is because after the mutation of “nsp14”, the genome continues to accumulate wrong mutations, and eventually the virus self-extincts because it is too late to repair.
In addition, the research team speculated that an enzyme called “APOBEC” changed “nsp14”. It is said that in East Asia and Oceania, this enzyme is particularly active in many people.
This research has been published in the Japanese Society of Human Genetics in October.