Scientists in France have discovered a new strain of Coronavirus that is believed to be more infectious than the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Scientists at the Méditerranée Infection University Hospital Institute (IHU) first discovered the new variant on December 10. The new strain has been dubbed as B.1.640.2. or IHU.
According to a research paper published on medRxiv, the new variant is more transmittable and vaccine-resistant than the existing Omicron variant, news agency Sputnik reported. The IHU variant is said to have 46 mutations and 37 deletions. At least 12 cases of the new variant have been reported near Marseilles, with reports indicating that majority of the victims were hospitalised. The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has been much higher in demand in southern France owing to the new variant.
The IHU variant has not been investigated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) yet. According to Epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, the emergence of the new variants does not necessarily mean they will be more deadly. “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,” he said as per PTI. “This is when it becomes a “variant of concern” – like Omicron, which is more contagious and more past immunity evasive. It remains to be seen in which category this new variant will fall. ” click full source.
So there we have it. Another year, another variant. Omicron cases have surged to record levels in the new year – nearly 220,000 in the UK and over 270,000 in France today, and over 1 million in the USA, becoming the dominant variant worldwide, and yet to peak. Can we cope with a new even more contagious variant? Only time will tell..