IHU, the novel COVID-19 variant detected in France

Currently, the world fights with the extremely mutated Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, scientists have recognized a novel strain of the COVID-19 causing virus in Southern France.

‘IHU’, the B.1.640.2 variant has been reported by researchers at institute IHU Mediterranean Infection in at least 12 cases and has been related to travel to African country Cameroon.

Nevertheless, the scientists noted that it is too premature to speculate on how this variant behaves as far as infection and safety from vaccines are concerned.

The yet-to-be earl goes overstudy, forwarded on the preprint repository MedRxiv on 29th December, open up that IHU has 46 mutations and 37 deletions subsequent in 30 amino acid substitutions and 12 deletions.

Amino acids are molecules that associate to formulate proteins, and both are the building blocks of life.

Fourteen amino acid substitutions, including N501Y and E484K, and nine deletions are sited in the spike protein.

Most presently used vaccines are targeted at the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which the virus usages to go in and contaminate the cells.

N501Y and E484K mutations were previously also found in Beta, Gamma, Theta, and Omicron variants.

They further added that: “The mutation set and phylogenetic position of the genomes gained here specify grounded on our preceding description a novel variant we named IHU,” the authors of the study said.

IHU variant
IHU variant

What research says about the new IHU variant?

  • “These data are additional instance of the impulsiveness of the rise of SARS-CoV-2 variants, and of their outline in a specified geographical area from abroad,”
  • The B.1.640.2 has not been recognized in other countries so far or considered a variant under examination by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • According to the researchers, the first case was an adult identified positively by RTPCR accomplished in a laboratory on a nasopharyngeal sample placid in mid-November last year.
  • In a long Twitter thread Epidemiologist, Eric Feigl-Ding posted that the novel variants keep developing but it does not essentially mean they will be more hazardous.
  • Feigl-Ding tweeted on Tuesday-“What makes a variant more familiar and unsafe is its capability to grow because of the number of mutations it has in relative to the original virus,”

He further said. “This is when it develops a “variant of worry” – like Omicron, which is more transmissible and more previous resistance elusive. Its leftovers to be gotten in which category this novel variant will fall,”

Several states are presently suffering a spike in COVID-19 cases determined by the Omicron variant which was initially recognized in South Africa and Botswana in November last year.

Since before, the variant of concern has blowout to over 100 countries.

Currently, a total number of 18.92 cases of Omicron variant have been detected across 23 states and union territories of India which is definitely a big worry for the Indian government.


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