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IHU – A New COVID-19 Variant ‘IHU’ Discovered in France

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IHU

Only one IHU variant has been sighted in France and has not been labeled as a variant under investigation by the World Health Organization (WHO). In mid-November, it was discovered and linked to travel to Africa, specifically Cameroon.
The discovery of a new Coronavirus strain in France concerned experts worldwide during the spread of the Omicron variant. Named ‘IHU’, it raised fears of a new wave of infection.

More mutations and deletions occur in the variant’s genetic code than in Omicron. The spike protein is affected by many of these mutations and deletions.

This variant is a sub-lineage of B.1.640, and its discovery was reported by French researchers from the Instituts Hospitaliers Universitaires (IHU), also known as University Hospital Institutes. A.1.640.2 has been assigned to it.

How do experts see the new variant?

Until more information is available on this variant or other variants like the Omicron, experts advise caution. As new variants appear during a pandemic, not all are virulent or cause severe illness. So, it’s advisable not to jump to conclusions before more information is available.

Numerous variants are found all the time, but that does not necessarily mean they are more dangerous. In addition to its ability to multiply, variants are also more dangerous because of the number of mutations they possess in comparison with the original virus,” said epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding.

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Where was IHU detected?

In Marseille, 12 people have been found to have IHU, and some have been hospitalized because of the illness. Travel to Cameroon has been linked to these cases.

According to the researchers, the first case was found in an adult from a small town in southeastern France. In a private medical biology laboratory, RT-PCR testing revealed he had SARS-CoV-2. He was diagnosed the day before he developed mild respiratory symptoms. Further testing revealed the same combination of mutations in respiratory samples collected from seven other COVID-19 positive patients from the same area.

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Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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