New Covid variant IHU – symptoms, mutations and how it differs from Omicron – World News

A new variant of the coronavirus, discovered by scientists in France, has emerged. Little is currently known about the ‘IHU’ variant, but here’s all the information we have so far…

Viruses mutate and produce different strains over timeral flow test
Viruses mutate and produce different strains over time, and Covid is no different

There is yet another variant of the coronavirus emerging that scientists are aware of, known as the ‘IHU’ variant.

Viruses mutate and produce different strains over time as it helps them to survive, and Covid-19 is no different.

All of the new Covid strains mean that it can be hard to keep on top of the disease, as experts and the government roll out vaccination programmes to try and keep on top of infections.

Once a new variant emerges, the current vaccines might become less effective against the new strain.

The virus itself can also become more transmissible than before.

So what is the ‘IHU’ variant and should people be concerned?

What is the new Covid variant?

The variant was discovered and studied in France


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The IHU variant takes its name, unlike other variants which use the Greek alphabet, from researchers based at the IHU Mediterranee hospital in Marseille.

Twelve people were later identified as having the strain, including seven adults and five children.

A study into the variant has not yet been peer-reviewed, but initial findings have indicated the strain has 46 mutations, several more than Omicron’s 37.

As reported by the Evening Standard, researchers say it is too early to speculate on how harmful the mutant strain is: “It is too early to speculate on virological, epidemiological or clinical features of this IHU variant based on these 12 cases.

“Overall, 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.”

It is not yet a variant of concern identified by the World Health Organisation. Initial findings suggest it is unlikely that it will be.

Should we be concerned about the IHU variant?

Little is currently known about the variant, but there is not much cause for concern just yet


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It doesn’t look as though people should be concerned about the IHU variant. It predates the Omicron variant that is now dominant across the world.

As for symptoms, the study into the variant revealed the first identified case only developed ‘mild’ respiratory symptoms.

The variant officially known as B.1.640.2 was first identified in France way back in November and the person who was detected had recently returned from a trip to Cameroon.

However, investigations into this have been unable to show any more links with Cameroon, so it is not believed the variant emerged from there.

Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College, said on Twitter : “This virus has had a decent chance to cause trouble but never really materialised.”

Meanwhile, American epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding said to the Evening Standard: “There are scores of new variants discovered all the time, but it does not necessarily mean they will be more dangerous.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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