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Scientists in France on Tuesday announced the discovery of a new Coronavirus variant IHU. Announcement came amid alarming rise of positive cases of the new coronavirus variant Omicron. 

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.

This variant has reportedly infected twelve individuals in France itself, near Marseilles, and has been linked to travel to the African country Cameroon.

The Omicron variant was detected first in South Africa in November 2021 and has been spreading like wildfire globally since then. 

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 Health agency mentioned that the variant was first detected in November and would have picked up considering the opportunities it had. 

The health agency also assured that the variant has been on their radar since then. Who monitors several variants and examines their risk factors. 

The cases reported of this variant are limited to France and therefore has not been designated a ‘variant under investigation’ by WHO.

Several virologists have been noting the presence of this variant and this has popped up in discussions.

“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.

Scientists are of the opinion that Omicron which is spreading at an alarming rate is of a higher concern than IHU as it has already been there for some months. 

Vinod Scaria, a scientist of Delhi's Institute of Genomic and Integrative Biology, tweeted, "Nothing to panic or worry too much (about) at the moment, given the evidence. But clearly, something that needs to be watched closely for the coming weeks."

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