Another new variant of COVID-19 with dozens of mutations has been discovered, in France.
Dubbed as IHU, the variant reportedly has the N501Y mutation also found in the Alpha, Beta, Omicron and Gamma variants, which makes it more infectious, and the E484K mutation found in Gamma and Beta, which helps the virus evade people’s immunity., as well as numerous other changes.
It was found in a dozen patients living in Forcalquier, southern France.
The index case was a man who had recently been to Cameroon, central Africa, which – like much of the region – has incredibly low vaccination coverage, making it easier for variants to emerge.
French media reports say he was vaccinated, but tested positive for the virus in mid-November, PCR tests showing it had an “atypical combination” of mutations which looked nothing like the Delta variant, dominant at the time.
The scientists dubbed it IHU, naming it after the institution where they work, IHU Méditerranée-Infection.
Formally it’s known as B.1.640.2, which shows where it sits on the evolutionary tree.