In response to the emergence of reportedly more transmissible strains of COVID-19, Academia Sinica on Tuesday launched a real-time monitoring network to track the spread of different variants of the virus.
The new COVID-19 variant detected in the UK earlier this month was identified as having mutated from one of six dominant strains of the virus, according to the network’s Web site.
The UK variant is a sub-strain of the Type 6 variant of COVID-19, said a research team that comprises scientists from different fields, including Academia Sinica President James Liao (廖俊智).
Photo: Screengrab from the Academia Sinica Web site
The team used DNA sequences from the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data, a global science initiative and primary source that provides open access to DNA data on influenza viruses.
The Type 6 variant has since April become globally dominant, accounting for more than 95 percent of infections confirmed after mid-May, found a study published by the team in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Nov. 12.
The strain is defined by four single nucleotide variations that often co-occur, the team said, adding that other strains did not spread as efficiently, which suggests that COVID-19 is highly adaptable.
The UK mutation shows that the evolution of the virus cannot be easily stopped, Academia Sinica said.
The new network aims to facilitate the quick discovery of emerging variants and help assess vaccine efficiency, it said.
The network’s Web site can be visited at sarscov2.sinica.edu.tw/tracking.html.
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
‘EFFECTIVE DETERRENCE’: If the Biden administration suspends arms sales to Taiwan, the military could still ready a nimble fighting force for defense, an analyst said The “US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific” last week sparked debate among analysts after US President Donald Trump declassified the document 20 years ahead of schedule. Trump on Tuesday last week released the document that had governed US strategic action in the region since the US leader approved its use in 2018. The document, which outlines US priorities in the region, emphasizes the importance of defending Taiwan against military aggression and facilitating the country’s development of asymmetric strategies and capabilities. The overall directive of the document is for the US to prevent China from establishing sustained air and sea dominance inside the first
MOVING OUT: A former professor said that rent and early education costs in Taipei are the nation’s highest, which makes it difficult for young people to start families The population of Taipei last year fell to the lowest in 23 years due to high rent, more transportation options and the expansion of northern cities into a single metropolis, academics and city officials said on Monday. Data released this month by the Ministry of the Interior showed that the capital was home to 2,602,418 people last year, down 42,623 from 2019. The decline is second only to 1993, when the population fell by 42,828 people, while Taipei’s population was the lowest it has been since 1997. Taipei saw the biggest drop among the six special municipalities, while Taoyuan led the group in
A legislator yesterday called for authorities to investigate the sale of Chinese-made, Internet-connected karaoke machines containing “propaganda songs.” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said she was approached by a person who had discovered Chinese patriotic songs such as My Motherland (我的祖國) — which is commonly referred to as China’s “second national anthem” — in Chinese-made karaoke devices sold in Taiwan. The machines are popular, as they can connect to the Internet, providing access to thousands of songs, she said. One retailer, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the machines first entered the local market about three years ago, starting with