Health

New COVID-19 variant ‘IHU’ detected in France

Barely a few months after the Omicron COVID-19 variant was discovered in South Africa, another variant has been reported in France.

The new variant however has not been reported so far in countries other than France and not yet labelled as ‘variant under investigation’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

According to a paper posted on medRxiv, the strain carries the E484K mutation which can make it more resistant to vaccines. It also has the N501Y mutation — first seen on the Alpha variant — that experts believe can make it more transmissible.

The scientists said, “these observations show once again the unpredictability of the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants and their introduction from abroad. And they exemplify the difficulty to control such introduction and subsequent spread.”

The head and professor of the department at IHU that discovered the variant, Philippe Colson, said, “We indeed have several cases of this new variant in the Marseilles geographical area. We named it ‘variant IHU’. Two new genomes have just been submitted.”

Renowned Epidemiologist, Eric Feigl-Ding, on Twitter, said, “The mutations have caused “Fourteen amino acid substitutions, and 9 amino acid deletions—which are located in the spike protein.

“There are scores of new variants discovered all the time, but it does not necessarily mean they will be more dangerous.

“What makes a variant more well-known and dangerous is its ability to multiply because of the number of mutations it has in relation to the original virus.”

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Some days ago, a woman who recently gave birth in Israel was diagnosed with flu and COVID-19 simultaneously, a condition which is being dubbed as the ‘flurona,’ media reports said.

According to experts, ‘flurona’ is not a new variant, but a case of double infection of the coronavirus and the influenza virus.

The presence of both viruses was noted could result in full range of severe symptoms including pneumonia, respiratory complications and myocarditis, which could lead to death if left untreated.

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