Learn Everything About A New IHU Coronavirus Variant Discovered In France

In France, researchers found a novel strain of Coronavirus that is expected to be more infectious than the highly transmissible Omicron version.

In France, a new Coronavirus strain has been found, which is expected to be more infectious than the highly transmissible Omicron version. A novel variety was detected on December 10 by scientists at the Méditerranée Infection University Hospital Institute (IHU). The novel strain has been given the moniker B.1.640.2. or IHU.

According to a research paper published on medRxiv, the new version is more transmittable and vaccine-resistant than the previous Omicron type, according to news source Sputnik. The IHU variation has 46 mutations and 37 deletions, according to studies. According to sources, at least 12 cases of the new strain have been confirmed near Marseilles, with the majority of the victims being hospitalised. The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has seen a large surge in demand in southern France as a result of the new variation.

The first patient had previously travelled to Cameroon, a central African country.

“In the Marseilles area, there are multiple occurrences of this unique variety. IHU variation is the name we’ve given it. “Two additional genomes had already been submitted.” Professor Philippe Colson, the leader of the department that found the novel variety, is quoted in the research publication as saying, The first person to contract the IHU form was completely vaccinated and had visited Cameroon in central Africa in November, according to the research paper. He got moderate respiratory symptoms three days after his return.


The patient’s nasopharyngeal sample, according to Colson, indicated an uncommon combination that didn’t match the pattern of either the Omicron or Delta variants, which were responsible for nearly all SARS-CoV-2 infections at the time. After qPCR analysis, the identical mix of mutations was discovered in respiratory samples from seven other SARS-CoV-2-positive individuals residing in the same geographic area. The group consisted of two parents and five youngsters, according to a Sputnik article.

The IHU variant with the E484K mutation is more vaccine-resistant.

According to the research article, the E484K mutation has been detected in the IHU variation, which is expected to make it more vaccine-resistant. Aside from that, the N501Y mutation has been detected, which could make the strain more contagious, as it was initially discovered in the Alpha variety. Meanwhile, the new variant’s changes in the virus’s spike protein resulted in 14 amino acid substitutions and nine amino acid deletions. The authors of the report also noted that it was too early to speculate on the virological, epidemiological, or clinical features of this IHU variation based on the 12 instances discovered so far.

The IHU variant has yet to be investigated by the WHO.

According to epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, the appearance of novel variations does not always mean that they will be more lethal. “What makes a version more well-known and hazardous is its propensity to multiply due to the number of mutations it has compared to the original virus,” according to PTI. “When it becomes a “variant of worry,” such as Omicron, which is more infectious and immune-evasive, this is when it becomes a “variant of concern.” Which group this new variety will fall into is unknown. It’s worth noting, he continued, that the World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet looked into the IHU variety.

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