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An early study observing the genetic make-up of the IHU variant has suggested it contains more mutations than Omicron, which in the past month has established itself as the globally dominant variant of the virus. However, even though experts have known about IHU for more than a month, adverse nexium reaction the World Health Organisation (WHO) has moved to downplay concerns about its potential effects. So, where has the variant been detected in the world so far?

Where has IHU been identified to date?

IHU was officially identified in November, for the first time in Marseille, southern France.

A vaccinated man who had recently returned from a trip to Cameroon was ruled to be the first individual to contract it.

However, there is no evidence to suggest the strain originated from the African country.

According to researchers, 12 people have so far been identified as carrying the variant – including five children and seven adults.

All of these cases were contained within the same region of southern France.

Consequently, no other countries in the world have reported a case of IHU to date.

So far, the WHO has downplayed concerns surrounding the variant.

Abdi Mahamud, a WHO incident manager on Covid, told a press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, last Tuesday that it “has been on our radar”.

However, he also noted to this point, it had not posed much of a threat.

As a result, IHU has not been labelled a ‘variant of concern’ by the WHO.

Currently, the full list of variants of concern is as follows:

  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gamma
  • Delta
  • Omicron

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How did the IHU variant emerge?

Variants of viruses occur when there is a change or mutation to the virus’s genes.

RNA viruses such as Covid naturally evolve and change gradually over time.

This is why scientists become concerned when a new variant emerges, as they could affect vaccine efficacy.

A preliminary study which observed the IHU variant discovered findings that suggest the strain has 46 mutations, nine more than Omicron’s 37.

However, the paper has yet to be peer-reviewed and the scientists who conducted the research have stressed: “It is too early to speculate on virological, epidemiological or clinical features of this IHU variant based on these 12 cases”.

Early studies to have examined the Omicron variant have suggested the high number of mutations it has is helping to drive infection rates throughout the world.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows around one in 15 people in English private households had Covid for the week ending December 31.

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