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The new COVID-19 variant “IHU” has been discovered in France at most 12 people infected

The new COVID-19 variant “IHU” has been discovered in France at most 12 people infected. 

As the world struggles with the significantly altered Omicron variation of SARS-CoV-2 scientists, have discovered a new COVID-19 virus that is causing the disease in Southern France.

Also known as ‘IHU,’ the B.1.640.2 variant was identified by researchers from the institute IHU Mediterranee Infection with at most 12 cases. It’s also been connected to traveling to the African nation Cameroon.

The researchers also noted that it’s still too early to make predictions about how this variant performs in terms of the protection against vaccines and infection.

MORE: According to WHO, a spiral of Omicron cases could result in more hazardous variants.

The study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed posted on the repository for preprints MedRxiv on the 29th of December, found that IHU has 37 deletions and 46 mutations, resulting in amino acid substitutions of 30 and 12 deletions.

Amino acids are the molecules that are combined to create proteins. They are the fundamental building elements of life. 

14 amino acid substitutions comprise N501Y and E484K, and nine deletions are found inside the spike protein.

The majority of the vaccines currently in use focus on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which the virus uses to enter and infect cells. 

E484K and N501Y E484K mutations were previously identified on Beta, Gamma, Theta, and Omicron variants.

“The mutation set and phylogenetic position of the genomes obtained here indicate based on our previous definition a new variant we named IHU,” the researchers of the study stated. 

“These data are another example of the unpredictability of the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants and their introduction in a given geographical area from abroad,” they said.

The B.1.640.2 has not been recognized in other countries or classified as an unidentified variant from WHO. World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the study, their findings believe that the first (first) patient was an adult positive for the disease by RTPCR conducted in a lab on a nasopharyngeal nasopharynx during mid-November.

Epidemiologist Eric Feigl Ding wrote a lengthy Twitter conversation. He stated that new viruses are constantly appearing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be more hazardous.

“What makes a variant more well-known and dangerous is its ability to multiply because of the number of mutations it has about the original virus,” Feigl-Ding tweeted on Tuesday.

“This is when it is an “variant of worry” similar to Omicron. It is more infectious and resistant to past immune evasion. It remains to be determined what category this new variant will fall into,” the doctor said.

A number of countries are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 related cases, mainly due to the Omicron variant, which was first detected by South Africa and Botswana in November of last year.

Since then, the variant of worry has spread to more than 100 countries. For example, in India, the total number of 1,892 instances associated with the Omicron type have been identified in 23 states and Union Territories so far.


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