Home/ News / World/  New covid variant 'IHU' discovered in France

The Omicron Covid variant is spreading like wildfire around the world. The variant of concern has been leading to a galloping surge in Covid-19 cases across the globe. And now, a new variant of Covid-19 has emerged in France recently, according to researchers. 

New Covid variant discovered in France

Named IHU, the B.1.640.2 variant was discovered by the academics at institute IHU Mediterranee Infection. According to the researchers, the new variant contains 46 mutations – even more than Omicron.

At least 12 cases of the new variant have been reported near Marseilles, and has been linked to travel to the African country Cameroon.

US epidemiologist and health economist Eric Feigl-Ding mentioned about the new covid variant in a series of tweets. 

" NEW VARIANT—French scientists have “rung the bell" after discovering a cluster 12 cases of a variant of “atypical combination" with **46 mutations & 37 deletions** in southern France after index case returned from Cameroon," he tweeted.


In a series of tweets, he stressed that new variants are constantly being detected, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be more dangerous.

“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," Epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding posted on Twitter.

“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," the doctor further said.

In a series of tweets, he stressed that new variants are constantly being detected, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be more dangerous.

The B.1.640.2 has not been reported in any other country or labelled a variant under investigation by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The news comes as France announced a fresh plan to crack down on the unvaccinated.

French government officials on Tuesday vowed to enact by mid-January as planned a law to block unvaccinated people from hospitality venues, despite the legislation hitting a procedural hitch in parliament overnight.

"January 15 remains our goal," for the law coming into force, European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told LCI television.

Until now France has enforced a COVID-19 health pass, which means in order to get into restaurants, cafes or cinemas or board trains, people need to either show a fresh negative test, or proof of vaccination.

The legislation will remove the option of showing a negative test, effectively barring unvaccinated people from hospitality venues or trains. (With Agency Inputs)


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Updated: 04 Jan 2022, 05:33 PM IST
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