New corona variant 'IHU' identified in France

As the world grapples with the highly mutated Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, scientists have identified a new strain of the Covid causing virus in Southern France. Known as 'IHU', the B.1.640.2 variant has been reported by researchers at institute IHU Mediterranee Infection in at least 12 cases, and has been linked to travel to African country Cameroon.

However, the researchers noted that it is too early to speculate on how this variant behaves as far as infection and protection from vaccines is concerned. The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, posted on the preprint repository MedRxiv on December 29, revealed that IHU has 46 mutations and 37 deletions resulting in 30 amino acid substitutions and 12 deletions.