What is the IHU variant of Covid?
Scientists are seeking to determine the severity of the ailment after the first instance of the new Covid-19 variant IHU was reported in December of 2021.
Professor Philippe Colson, chairman of the Méditerranée Infection Foundation, said, “We indeed have several cases of this new variant in the Marseille geographical area.”
“We named it ‘variant IHU’. Two new genomes have just been submitted.”
There are up to 46 mutations in the IHU variety, according to reports.
Marseille illnesses have been linked to visits in Cameroon, but they don’t appear to represent a serious threat to Omicron.
Omicron now represents for more than 60% of cases in France and is widely used in other countries.
Viruses with mutated forms are exceedingly frequent, according to scientists, and the majority of them aren’t as dangerous as the original.
This isn’t a new variant
The B.1.640 variation is not a brand-new variety. It’s been at least three months since it first appeared. The transmission of a week-old report by researchers from Méditerranée Infection in Marseille, part of France’s Instituts hospitalo-universitaires, sparked the rapid controversy (IHU, or University Hospital Institutes).
The study reports the discovery of a novel variation in 12 people residing in the same geographical area of southeastern France in November of last year, the first of whom had just returned from a vacation to Cameroon. The variant discovered in these persons was quite similar to the one discovered earlier and called IHU, according to the researchers.
The IHU variant mentioned by the researchers is B.1.640, which was originally found in January of last year, according to global databases. The one discovered in November by French researchers has now been classed as a sub-lineage B.1.640.2.
Not fast spreading
At least 400 illnesses with the B.1.640 variant have been found so far, according to outbreak.info, a website that records the incidence of different variants in genome sequencing databases. It has been found in at least 19 different nations. Surprisingly, one of these sequences is also from India, the only one among the over 90,000 Indian sequences deposited in global databases.
The country with the most sequences of this variant is France, where 287 cases have been confirmed so far. Germany has 17 cases, whereas the United Kingdom has 16. However, Congo appears to be the country with the highest prevalence of this variant, with 39 of the 454 genome sequences done so far belonging to the B.1.640 lineage.
B.1.640 was designated as a variant under monitoring, or VUM, by the World Health Organization (WHO) in November. VUM is the entry-level categorization of a variant that is worth keeping a watch on.
It’s not a concern
While the enormous number of important mutations in this variety has piqued academics’ interest and sparked public worry, the B.1.640 is not spreading at an alarming rate. It isn’t quite as concerning as the spread of Omicron. This variant was last spotted on December 25, according to the website outbreak.info. Following that, no additional cases were found in the global databases.
“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,” said Vinod Scaria, a scientist at Delhi-based Institute of Genomic and Integrative Biology, in a tweet on Tuesday.