While the Omicron form of the coronavirus continues to infect huge numbers of individuals throughout the world, word of the appearance of another highly modified strain spread quickly on Tuesday, raising worries of yet another wave of infections. This variety, B.1.640 (IHU Corona variant), has so far been identified mostly in France, although it has also been reported in a few other countries. There are 46 mutations in the variation, including several in the spike protein.
What was the origin of the IHU Corona variant?
After analysing 12 Covid positive individuals in the same location of southeast France, this novel B.1.640.2, variation was discovered. Scientists at the IHU Mediterranean Infection in France have found a patient infected with this novel type, according to a study published but under review in MedRive. After a vacation to Cameroon, this patient returned to France.
This isn’t a new variation
The B.1.640 variation is not a brand-new variety. It’s been at least three months since it first appeared. The transmission of a week-old report by researchers from Méditerranée Infection in Marseille, part of France’s Instituts hospitals-Universitaires, sparked the rapid controversy (IHU, or University Hospital Institutes).
The study describes the discovery of a novel variation in 12 persons residing in the same geographical region of southern France in November of last year, the first of whom had just returned from a vacation to Cameroon. The variation discovered in these persons was quite similar to the one discovered before and called IHU, according to the researchers.
Fear not, but be cautious
At least 400 patients with the B.1.640 variation have been found so far, according to outbreak.info, a website that records the incidence of various variants in genome sequencing databases. It has been found in at least 19 different nations. Surprisingly, one of these sequences is also from India, the only one among the over 90,000 Indian sequences deposited in worldwide databases.
The country with the most sequences of this variation in France, where 287 instances have been confirmed so far. Germany has 17 instances, whereas the United Kingdom has 16. However, Congo appears to be the nation with the highest prevalence of this variation, with 39 of the 454 genome sequences done so far belonging to the B.1.640 lineage.
According to the researchers, the infection of this variant may be easily detected using an RT-PCR test. There will be no need for time-consuming whole-genome sequencing for this. Many specialists believe there is no need to be concerned about this variety, although caution is advised until further information is available. The World Health Organization is also keeping an eye on it.
Possibility for vaccine survival
The World Health Organization is also keeping an eye on it. And they have been keeping an eye on this variety since before Omicron. This new strain is a descendent of the B.1.640, which was initially discovered in Ghana in November of last year and has been under monitoring since then. Some of the mutations are comparable to those found in the ‘Variations of Concern’ category variants. The body’s capacity to avoid natural or vaccine-generated antibodies was one of them.
More information on how quickly this variation can now spread is anticipated. In a few weeks, the situation will become evident. So far, the material does not appear to be too frightening, but it does appear to be offering warnings to be cautious. This variety is even older than the Omicron, which might be a blessing in disguise.