- According to pathologist Dr Haseltine, COVID version R.1 is a ‘to watch’ of sorts
- He claimed that it has gained a foothold in both Japan and the US.
- But statistics show that it has been replaced by the Delta version in both countries.
An expert has claimed that a COVID variant previously identified in Japan should be watched closely as it can spread faster than other mutant strains and evade vaccines.
Dr William Haseltine, a former Harvard Medical School professor, alleged that the strain – called R.1 – is a type of ‘to see’.
They told Forbes: ‘It has gained a foothold in both Japan and the United States.
‘In addition to several mutations specifically in the spike protein with forms of anxiety, R.1 has a set of unique mutations that may confer additional advantages in transmission, replication and immune suppression.’
Since its appearance in February, 10,000 cases of this variant have been reported worldwide and it has spread to 37 countries.
More than seven out of all ten cases have been identified in Japan where it was predominant in April. But the mutant strain has now been mostly replaced by Delta.
In the UK, surveillance has identified 20 cases – the last of which was detected four months ago. There have been 2,000 cases in the US, with the latest in August.
Neither Public Health England nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list the variant under concern or investigation.
In April the mutant strain was linked to an outbreak at a Kentucky nursing home where 46 vaccinated residents and workers were infected.
Infectious disease specialist Dr William Haseltine said it has infected 45 residents and health workers at a Kentucky nursing home (stock image).
It follows FDA-approved booster vaccines for adults over age 65 and other vulnerable groups.
The agency said concerns over the infectious Delta variant meant it was necessary to roll-out the shots.
They are available to anyone who has received their last dose at least six months ago.