What is known about the IHU variant detected in France

The Institute of Infectious Diseases of the University Hospital of Marseille confirmed that it had been detected a new variant of the coronavirus in several patients in the French town of Folcalquier, located about 100 kilometers from Marseille.

The strain is scientifically known as B.1.640.2. but popularly it has been baptized as IHU, which is the acronym of the French hospital where this new variant was identified for the first time.

What does the WHO say about the IHU variant?

Health authorities around the world are "watching very closely" the appearance of this variant, especially since the extent that it could have among the population is unknown.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading the investigations to determine if this variant could really become a threat and what measures should be taken in this regard.

Although the appearance of this new variant has now been confirmed, the truth is that scientists from the international health organization had already controlled it, at least since November, as confirmed by Abdi Mahamud, WHO incident manager, in a Press conference.

Due to the fact that the scientific investigations are in a very preliminary phase, the medical organization has not classified this variant as "worrisome", something that it has done with others that have appeared previously, such as the omicron.

Is it worrying?

In fact, this variant is a sublineage of B.1.640 that was first detected in the Republic of Congo and later in some patients in France. This variant, B.1.640, was classified by the WHO as a "variant under surveillance" since November 22. However, experts clarify that the strain is circulating in the country at "very low levels", implying that there should be no scaremongering in this regard.

The finding was initially published in the scientific journal MedRxiv and the article spoke of "46 mutations and 37 deletions."

Also read: US reports nearly one million COVID-19 cases in one day, setting a world record

What is known about the 12 infected patients?

What is known is that, so far, this strain has been identified in 12 patients in France and that the first case could have occurred in a patient who recently traveled to Cameroon, but this has not been confirmed. Nor have they revealed the status of the infected and if any of them presented a severe or extremely serious condition.

"For twelve patients with SARS-CoV-positive who lived in the same geographical area of ​​southeastern France, the PCR tests that detect mutations associated with variants showed an atypical combination", reveals the scientific document prepared by the ten experts who discovered the variant .

Researchers highlight the "unpredictability" of the variants

The research, whose authors warn that it is not yet conclusive, also highlights the "unpredictability" of COVID-19 mutations, so it is necessary to remain vigilant in the presence of new variants.

"These data are another example of the unpredictability of the appearance of variants of SARS-CoV-2 and their introduction in a specific geographic area from abroad," pointed out the experts who signed the document.

Didier Raoult, director of the Marseille hospital (IHU) where this new variant was first detected.

Who is the director of the hospital where the variant was found?

Didier Raoult, director of the Marseille hospital (IHU) where this new variant was first detected, has led the scientific investigation. The Voice of america you have tried unsuccessfully to contact him through various channels.

Some French media point out that the expert received a warning from the Order of Physicians of New Aquitaine in December, considering that Raoult had violated article 12 of the medical code of ethics.

The man had promoted hydroxychloroquine as a method to combat the coronavirus without having scientifically “confirmed data” to support his claims.

"Professor Raoult, through various media and especially his YouTube channel, gave information that was not based on confirmed data, without showing the necessary prudence," the office said in a statement.

Connect with the Voice of America! Subscribe to our channel Youtube and activate notifications, or, follow us on social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Author Profile

Nathan Rivera
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Nathan Rivera, a dedicated journalist who has had the privilege of writing for the online newspaper Today90. My journey in the world of journalism has been a testament to the power of dedication, integrity, and passion.

My story began with a relentless thirst for knowledge and an innate curiosity about the events shaping our world. I graduated with honors in Investigative Journalism from a renowned university, laying the foundation for what would become a fulfilling career in the field.

What sets me apart is my unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth. I refuse to settle for superficial answers or preconceived narratives. Instead, I constantly challenge the status quo, delving deep into complex issues to reveal the reality beneath the surface. My dedication to investigative journalism has uncovered numerous scandals and shed light on issues others might prefer to ignore.

I am also a staunch advocate for press freedom. I have tirelessly fought to protect the rights of journalists and have faced significant challenges in my quest to inform the public truthfully and without constraints. My courage in defending these principles serves as an example to all who believe in the power of journalism to change the world.

Throughout my career, I have been honored with numerous awards and recognitions for my outstanding work in journalism. My investigations have changed policies, exposed corruption, and given a voice to those who had none. My commitment to truth and justice makes me a beacon of hope in a world where misinformation often prevails.

At Today90, I continue to be a driving force behind journalistic excellence. My tireless dedication to fair and accurate reporting is an invaluable asset to the editorial team. My biography is a living testament to the importance of journalism in our society and a reminder that a dedicated journalist can make a difference in the world.