While the world grapples with the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, researchers in Southern France have uncovered a new COVID-19 strain. A total of 12 B.1.640.2 ‘IHU’ cases have been documented. No one knows how this variation may affect infection or vaccination protection. The unpublished investigation found that IHU had 46 mutations and 37 deletions, resulting in 30 amino acid alterations and 12 deletions. Amino acids are chemicals that join together to produce proteins, which are the building blocks of life. The spike protein has fourteen amino acid changes, including N501Y and E484K, and nine deletions.
Most existing vaccines target the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which the virus uses to enter and infect cells. In Beta, Gamma, Theta, and Omicron variants, N501Y and E484K mutations were previously found. “Based on our earlier definition, the mutation set and phylogenetic position of the genomes acquired here imply a novel variation we designated IHU,” the study’s authors said.
What are worry variants?
“These findings highlight the unpredictability of the formation of SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as their transfer into a specific geographical area from elsewhere,” they noted. So yet, no other nations have reported B.1.640.2 as a variation under the World Health Organization (WHO) examination. According to the researchers, the index (first) case was an adult who tested positive using RTPCR on a nasopharyngeal sample obtained in mid-November of last year.
According to epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, new variants are always emerging, but that does not mean they will be more harmful. “What makes a variety more well-known and lethal is its ability to multiply,” Feigl-Ding said on Twitter on Tuesday. “At this point, it resembles Omicron, which is more virulent and resistant to preexisting immunization. It is unclear which group this new variety would fit under, “He stated.
The Omicron coronavirus
Numerous countries are now reporting a spike in COVID-19 infections, which they ascribe to the Omicron strain found in South Africa and Botswana last November. Since then, the concern variant has spread to more than a hundred nations. There have been 1,892 occurrences of the Omicron type in India so far, spread across 23 states and territories.