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Scientists uncover ‘possibly worrying’ new Covid variant

Named IHU, the new B.1.640.2 variant has so far infected 12 people living in south east France

French scientists have identified a potentially worrying Covid-19 variant, which has 46 mutations.

This variant currently bears the name B.1.640.2 and has been dubbed the “variant IHU”  as a team from the Méditerranée Infection University Hospital Institute (IHU) in Marseilles, France, was the first to report it.

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According to the researchers who reported their findings in a paper published on medRxiv, the first case was linked to a person who had recently travelled to Cameroon, in west Africa.

The new variant is being monitored to evaluate how infectious or dangerous it could be. It’s  not clear what this new set of mutations will do yet, but experts were quick to clarify that there isn’t any evidence showing that IHU will prove as infectious as other strains, including Omicron.

Currently the WHO has not yet deemed it a variant of interest, a variant of concern, or a variant under investigation.

 

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