Japanese R.1 COVID Variant Detected In Kentucky

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Despite Delta variant concerns, observers remain confident the rollout of Covid vaccines means the world will not return to the strict lockdowns seen last year
Despite Delta variant concerns, observers remain confident the rollout of Covid vaccines means the world will not return to the strict lockdowns seen last year

Another variant of the COVID-19 virus has been detected in the U.S. at a Kentucky nursing home among a number of residents and staff.

The variant, R.1, first originated in Japan and has infected about 45 residents and workers at the Kentucky nursing home, where nearly all were vaccinated, the Independent reported.

The April outbreak was started by an unvaccinated staffer that was infected back in March, an investigation by the Kentucky Department of Public Health revealed.

According to Forbes, the R.1 variant “ has a set of unique mutations that may confer an additional advantage in transmission, replication, and immune suppression .”

The news outlet also said that there are more than 10,000 instances of the R.1 variant were reported in a database that has been used by researchers to track the strain of which the “variant contains five mutations previously noted in variants of concern or interest.”

The author of the Forbes article, William A. Haseltine, a scientist, said that the R.1 variant shares other mutations which are highly infectious with the Delta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma, and other mutations, which remain a “mystery.”

Particularly, it shares the 152 mutation that is one of the ones that are present in the Delta strain, that originated in India and has been responsible for the recent surge in COVID cases, according to Haseltine.

Haseltine also suggested that the R.1 variant has “increased resistance to antibodies in convalescent sera and to neutralising monoclonal antibodies."

Haseltine wrote, “R.1 is a variant to watch. It has established a foothold in both Japan and the United States.”




Photo: AFP / Apu GOMES

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