France has alerted the world on a new deadly COVID-19 variant named IHU.
This new variant emerged barely three months after the highly mutated COVID-19 Omicron variant was discovered.
Scientists identified the new strain, B.1.640.2, at the institute IHU Méditerranée Infection in Marseille.
Since this is new, the strain has not been discovered to outmatch the Omicron variant.
However, researchers believe that this variant consists 46 mutation which is higher than Omicron.
France has already recorded about 12 cases of the IHU variant . The IHU was reportedly imported from Cameroun.
The World Health Organisation is yet to record cases of this new variant in other countries. But, the Omicron variant still makes up more than 60 per cent of cases in France.
Prof Philippe Colson, head of the IHU researchers said several cases of IHU had emerged.
“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,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Olivier Veran, the French health minister said France anticipates higher daily reports of new COVID-19 infections.
In the last week of December 2021, the French country saw days of record-breaking cases.
The number of cases rose above 200,000 cases reported daily.
Expected cases are 300,000 to 400,000.
“I said that maybe – maybe – this is the last wave. Meaning that considering the number of infections in our country and around the world, it’s probable that we will have developed a form of immunity, either through vaccination or through getting infected, or both,” he said.
The US epidemiologist and health economist, Eric Feigl-Ding alerted the press about the IHU variant.
Ding said the shows the unpredictability of the new SARSCoV2 variants.
“They exemplify the difficulty to control such introduction and subsequent spread.
“However, it does not mean they will be more dangerous. What makes a variant more dangerous is its ability to multiply because of the number of mutations it has in relation to the original virus.
“This is when it becomes a variant of concern like Omicron, which is more contagious and could evade immunity. It remains to be seen in which category this new variant will fall,” he said.
Meanwhile, research is still ongoing to understand the strain of this variant.
Also, a Nigerian health expert has advised the world as well as Nigeria to learn to live with COVID-19.
The former Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Akin Osibogu told The Guardian.
“The situation is like that of yearly flu epidemic in Europe and the United States. They take yearly vaccination to protect against the flu. We must prepare for this kind of situation because COVID-19 has come to stay,” he said.
Source: The Guardian