About 70% of coronavirus patients who were tested in a Tokyo hospital last month had a mutation known to reduce vaccine protection, NHK said on Sunday.
The report said that the E484K mutation, nicknamed “Eek” by some scientists, was found in 10 of 14 people who tested positive for the virus at Tokyo University of Medicine and Dentistry Hospital in March.
Over the two months to March, 12 of the 36 COVID-19 patients carried the mutation, and none had recently traveled abroad or reported contact with people who had previously done so, she said.
Hospital officials were not immediately available for comment.
Ahead of the Summer Olympics, set to begin in July, Japan is struggling with a new wave of injuries. Health experts are particularly concerned about the spread of the mutant strains, even though large-scale vaccinations for the general population have yet to start.
On Friday, 446 new infections were reported in Tokyo, although this is still well below the peak of over 2,500 in January.
In Osaka, a record 666 cases were reported. Health experts have expressed concern about the spread of a mutant strain known to have emerged in Britain in that western city.
NHK said none of the patients at the Tokyo hospital carried the British strain.
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