Monday, October 3, 2022
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New IHU Variant Appears Before We Are Done With Omicron

Just as health authorities worldwide are figuring out how to properly deal with the fairly new Omicron variant, we may need to start worrying about another new variant that was found in France!

The new B.1.640.2 variant, called “IHU” for now, was reportedly discovered in France just last month. It has since caught the attention of experts around the world for its 46 mutations and its possible resistance against our current vaccines.

So far, there were 12 confirmed cases of the IHU variant, all of them were living in and around Marseilles. Most were being hospitalised due to the infection.

The index patient was vaccinated and believed to be linked with travel to the African nation of Cameroon recently.

However, it is not all bad and there is some positive note too. Apparently, the new strain does not appear to be spreading as rapidly as the Omicron variant that’s taken over headlines over the past few weeks.

Source: The Edge

Hence, experts at large are still not too concerned about IHU especially because it hasn’t had the same type of devastating spread seen by previous variants of concern.

Comparing to the Omicron, which were identified at around the same time in November 2021, has gone one to become a problem-causing variant worldwide.

Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College, London, said that the virus “has had a decent chance to cause trouble, but it has never really materialized”, while other scientists have spotted cousins of IHU circulating for weeks, but not really making much of an impact.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the IHU variant that was found in France has been on their radar, but it has not become much of a treat since it was first identified in November.

Abdi Mahamud, a WHO incident manager on Covid-19 said the WHO is currently investigating the new variant and it will only be declared to be a “variant of concern” if it is found to pose a serious risk.

Nonetheless, there is still insufficient information as of now to form a full opinion or prediction on how it may spread or how severe its symptoms may be. For all we know, the large amount of mutations on the variant’s spike protein may even be the reason for its relatively low transmission rate.

Based on what was being said by experts, we do hope that this will not turn out to be another super contagious version of the coronavirus, given that the world is focusing on limiting the spread of the current variant of concern, which is Omicron.


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