NHK has learned researchers in Japan have developed a method to enable swift detection of coronavirus variants that have been spreading rapidly in Britain and South Africa.
Reading the genetic code of the virus currently requires the use of special sequencing equipment. The process takes more than half a day.
Scientists at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases have developed a faster method using PCR testing technology that will allow them to confirm N501Y mutations.
They say the process takes only several hours, and it will be possible to check a large number of samples using existing PCR testing equipment.
The director of the institute's Influenza Virus Research Center, Hasegawa Hideki, told NHK that more work will be done to make the procedure more precise so the system can be utilized to strengthen monitoring systems.