After Delta, Omicron, now ‘IHU’ variant found in France, said to be more infectious

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Even as the world battles the uptick in COVID-19 cases owing to the Omicron variant, scientists in France have found another variant, media reports said.

The discovery of the variant, dubbed B.1.640.2, was announced in a paper posted on medRxiv.

Called IHU, as of now, the strain was discovered by academics based at the IHU Mediterranee Infection on 10 December.

Currently, Omicron is the dominant coronavirus variant in France, joining other European countries like the United Kingdom and Portugal with surging case numbers over the past few days.

France’s public health agency had recently said that “62.4 percent of tests showed a profile compatible with the Omicron variant”.

The Omicron variant of coronavirus has stoked average daily confirmed cases to more than 160,000 per day over the past week, with peaks above 200,000.

“The tidal wave has indeed arrived, it’s enormous, but we will not give in to panic,” Health Minister Olivier Veran was quoted as telling Parliament.

New Covid-19 variant B.1.640.2 has been reported by researchers in France. Temporarily named ‘IHU’, the variant is believed to have infected 12 people in the country.

However, on a more positive note, the new strain does not appear to be spreading rapidly.

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