We might all be sick of (and from) new Covid variants but unfortunately, another one has been discovered in France.
The variant, which has been nicknamed IHU after the group of researchers from the IHU Mediterranee Infection institute, in Marseille, who are studying it, and is less catchily known as B.1.640.2 variant, has so far infected 12 people living in the southeast of France.
The first case was linked to someone who had recently travelled to Cameroon, western Africa and has only been found in France.
What could be bad is that the variant has 46 mutations on its spike proteins which could pertain to being more resistant to vaccines.
For now, the World Health Organisation has not labelled it a variant of concern as it did with Omicron. The variant “has been on our radar,” Abdi Mahamud, a WHO incident manager on Covid, said at a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday. “That virus had a lot of chances to pick up.”
The WHO monitors multiple variants and this one is only under investigation.
Meanwhile, University College London geneticist Professor Francis Balloux said it is not currently linked to a spike in cases or hospitalisations in France.
And virologist Tom Peacock, of Imperial College London’s Department of Infectious Disease, said the variant has had “a decent chance to cause trouble but never really materialised”. He added: “Def not one worth worrying about too much at the mo.”
Lots of chat about B.1.640.2 in the last few days - just a few points to keep in mind:
- B.1.640.2 actually predate… https://t.co/5JMcHHm3rH