New coronavirus variant IHU found in France, reported in very few people
New Delhi : One thing that spread faster than omicron in the world is the news of finding a new variant 'IHU' in France. This raised fears of yet another wave of infections.
This variant, B.1.640, has been found mostly in France so far, although it has also been detected in several other countries. The variant was reported to have 46 mutations, including some in the spike protein.
The variant is not new. It was detected in November 2021 but came to light after a mention in the recent study by researchers from Méditerranée Infection in Marseille, part of France’s Instituts hospitalo-universitaires (IHU, or University Hospital Institutes).
The report mentioned that the new variant was detected in 12 people living in the same geographical area of southeastern France, the first of which had returned from a trip to Cameroon.
The researchers named the new variant as IHU. The IHU variant that the researchers mention is B.1.640 which, according to global databases, was first discovered way back in January last year. The one that the French researchers found among people in November has now been classified as a sub-lineage B.1.640.2.
According to outbreak.info, a web portal that maintains database for genome sequencing, the variant has 400 official cases. It has been detected in 19 countries, including India.
The highest number of sequences of this variant has come from France, where 287 cases have been confirmed until now. There are 17 cases from Germany and 16 from the United Kingdom.
In November, WHO had named it as the variant under monitoring, or VUM, the entry-level categorisation of a variant that is considered worth keeping an eye out for.