IHU VariantThe new variant — B.1.640.2 — which has been detected in 12 patients near Marseille, contains 46 mutations, making it more resistant to vaccines and infectious

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

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.

Here’s what we know so far of this new COVID-19 variant:

  • Researchers say that it contains 46 mutations — even more than Omicron — which makes it more resistant to vaccines and infectious.
  • Some 12 cases have been spotted so far near Marseille, with the first linked to travel to the African country Cameroon.
  • Tests show the strain carries the N501Y mutation — first seen on the Alpha variant — that experts believe can make it more transmissible
  • According to the scientists, it also carries the E484K mutation, which could mean that the IHU variant will be more resistant to vaccines.
  • It is yet to be spotted in other countries or labelled a variant under investigation by the World Health Organization.