Politics

COVID-19 variant found in France nicknamed IHU: report


An official from the World Health Organization told a press conference Tuesday that another COVID-19 variant has infected a dozen people in France and has been on the agency’s radar, according to a report.

Bloomberg reported that the ‘IHU’ variant, which was nicknamed by researchers at the Marseille-based Mediterranee Infection University Hospital Institute (IHU), has infected individuals in the southern Alps region in the country. Abdi Mahamud, a WHO incident manager, told researchers in Geneva that it’s too soon to “speculate on virological, epidemiological or clinical features” of the variant that was identified in November—at about the same time as omicron.

The facade of the IHU (Institut Hospitalo-Universitaires) Méditerranée Infection in Marseille. (Photo by Gerard Bottino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The facade of the IHU (Institut Hospitalo-Universitaires) Méditerranée Infection in Marseille. (Photo by Gerard Bottino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Photo by Gerard Bottino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The ‘IHU’ variant, or B.1.640.2, has 46 mutations but Bloomberg pointed out that the strain has not become a major threat since its discovery. The first patient identified with the variant returned to France from visiting Cameroon, according to a study that was not peer-reviewed and released in December.

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A man leaves behind his COVID-19 testing swab at a testing site in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

A man leaves behind his COVID-19 testing swab at a testing site in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, took to Twitter on Monday to post that the ‘IHU’ variant is “definitely not one worth worrying about too much at the moment,” Newsweek reported.

Residents register after receiving COVID-19 test at Tsui Ning Garden on January 4, 2022 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Chen Yongnuo/China News Service via Getty Images)

Residents register after receiving COVID-19 test at Tsui Ning Garden on January 4, 2022 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Chen Yongnuo/China News Service via Getty Images)
(Photo by Chen Yongnuo/China News Service via Getty Images)

Countries across the world are grappling with new coronavirus infections.

Israel recorded its highest-ever number of new infections on Tuesday — driven by the ultra-contagious omicron variant — despite restrictions on travel and required quarantines.

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The record of 11,978 cases diagnosed on Tuesday marks the most new infections reported in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report



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