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As coronavirus mutates, countries scramble to put up defenses

Brazil variant joins UK and South African forms confronting authorities from Asia to US

A colorized image of a cell, red, infected with the virus particles, yellow, that cause COVID-19. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH via Reuters)

TOKYO -- First identified in the U.K. late last year, a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 has now been confirmed in 49 countries and regions. A separate variant first found in South Africa has been spotted in 19 countries.

Japan has found another new variant, one that is thought to have come from Brazil.

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