As the world continues to fight the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus and the still persistent delta variant, scientists in France claim to have discovered a new variant that contains multiple mutations.
Experts at the IHU Mediterranee Infection in Marseille said they had discovered the new variant in December, in 12 patients living near that French city, and that the first patient tested positive after traveling to the Central African nation of Cameroon.
The French scientists said they had identified 46 mutations in the new variant, dubbed B.1.640.2, that could make it more resistant to vaccines and more infectious than the parent virus.
The results were published in the online health sciences medium MedRxiv, which publishes studies that have not been peer-reviewed or published in an academic journal.
B.1.640.2 has not been detected in other countries nor has it been labeled as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Meanwhile, a new study conducted in Denmark reveals that omicron better prevents the actions of the human immune system, even in people vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a study of 12,000 households, researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that omicron was 2.7 to 3.7 times more infectious than delta among vaccinated Danes.
The study, which is not yet under review, also found that unvaccinated people are more likely to transmit the coronavirus than those who have been fully vaccinated and received a booster shot.
Against omicron, the vaccine's effectiveness dropped to about 40% against symptoms and 80% against severe disease, and booster shots improved those numbers to 86% against symptoms and 98% against severe disease. .
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