New COVID-19 Variant IHU Reported To Have 46 Mutations, Found Mostly In France

When is it ever going to end?!

While the COVID-19 variant, Omicron continues to infect people in large numbers across the world, news about the emergence of another highly-mutated variant spread rapidly on Tuesday (December 4th).

new covid-19 variant ihu reported to have 46 mutations, found mostly in francePhoto via Healthline

The new COVID-19 variant, B.1.640 or “IHU” has raised fears of yet another wave of infection. 

Though the IHU variant has been found mostly in France so far, it has also been detected in several other countries and was reported to have 46 mutations, including some in the spike protein, as reported by The Indian Express. 

A study reports the detection of the new variant in November last year among 12 people living in the same geographical area of southeastern France, the first of which had returned from a trip to Cameroon.

Researchers said the variant found in these people was very similar to the one they had found earlier and named it IHU.

Apparently, the IHU variant isn’t new, and according to global databases, it was first discovered way back in January last year. The one that the French researchers found among the people in November has now been classified as a sub-lineage B.1.640.2.

new covid-19 variant ihu reported to have 46 mutations, found mostly in francePhoto via Geek Wire

While the large number of significant mutations in this variant has attracted the interest of researchers, and raised concerns among the public, the B.1.640 is not spreading at a rate that is unnerving. 

According to researchers, IHU is certainly not as alarming as the spread of Omicron.

Phew, that’s a relief! But we still need to be careful…

Malaysians, if you’re travelling to Europe, please remember to wear your face mask in crowded places, wash your hands regularly and maintain physical distance.

Jaga diri and stay safe, everyone.

By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat