French Scientists Discover New ‘IHU’ COVID-19 Variant

French scientists have discovered a new COVID-19 variant, the Daily Mail reported Monday.

A group of academics out of IHU Mediterranee Infection discovered the strain on Dec. 10.

Professor Philippe Colson, who runs the unit that discovered the strain, 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.”

Variant IHU, according to the Mail, reported as having 46 mutations, is said to be more vaccine-resistant. However, it has not shown any signs of outcompeting omicron in terms of transmissibility.

So far, 12 cases have been found in Marseille, with the first believed to have originated from Cameroon. The variant has been dubbed B.1.640.2 and carries the E484K mutation, which is believed to make it more vaccine-resistant.

“These observations show once again the unpredictability of the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants and their introduction from abroad,” according to a paper which has not yet been published.

“And they exemplify the difficulty to control such introduction and subsequent spread.”

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