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Japan has confirmed 18 cases of the eta coronavirus variant

The Japan Times

Japan has confirmed 18 cases of the eta variant of the coronavirus -- designated as a variant of interest (VOI) by the World Health Organization -- a health ministry tally showed Thursday, the first such infections reported in the country. The VOI category means it is less of a concern than the alpha and delta variants, which are categorized as variants of concern (VOC). The eta variant has been detected in a number of countries since December, first in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. According to GISAID, a website that tracks COVID-19 variants, eta had been prevalent globally around March through May, but the number of cases gradually declined since then. All travelers to Japan are required to take a PCR test upon arrival and wait for results.


The purple OnePlus 6T is coming to North America and Europe

Engadget

When the OnePlus 6T launched earlier this month, buyers had two options when it came to color -- a matte black and a glossy black. But soon, customers in North America and Europe will be able to snag a purple variant of the phone. The Thunder Purple option will be available through OnePlus' online store starting November 15th. A soft gradual fade from luminescent purple to black sets #OnePlus6T Thunder Purple apart. Power and elegance, get the best of both.


New UK variant 'may be more deadly'

BBC News

Mr Johnson said: "In addition to spreading more quickly it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant, the variant that was first identified in London and the south east, may be associated with a higher degree of mortality.


U.K. says delta variant 60% more transmissible

The Japan Times

London – The British government said Friday that the new delta coronavirus variant is 60% more transmissible in households than the variant that forced the country to lock down in January. The delta variant, which first emerged in India, has caused a rise in cases in the U.K., prompting questions about whether social distancing restrictions will be lifted as planned from June 21. New research from Public Health England "suggests that the delta variant is associated with an approximately 60% increased risk of household transmission" compared to the alpha variant identified in Kent, southeast England. The alpha variant caused a surge of COVID-19 cases in January leading to a three-month lockdown as hospitals were stretched to near-capacity. The government ramped up its public vaccination drive in response, and has now given two doses of vaccine to nearly 29 million adults and one dose to nearly 41 million.


We're evolving a gene that may stop us from drinking alcohol

New Scientist

Humans are still evolving, and alcohol may be helping to drive the process in some places. A variant of a gene that protects us against alcohol addiction, possibly by making boozing intolerable, seems to be favoured by evolution. So are several other gene variants.