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Newly emerged Covid-19 variant 'IHU' hasn't become a threat so far: WHO

Newly emerged Covid-19 variant IHU hasnt become a threat so far: WHO

The World Health Organization on Wednesday said that the emergence of IHU, another highly-mutated variant found in France hasn't become much of a threat since it was first identified in November.

Abdi Mahamud, a WHO incident manager on Covid at a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday said the variant has been on their radar and noted the virus had a lot of chances to pick up.

The variant was identified in 12 people in the southern Alps around the same time that omicron was discovered in South Africa last year. The latter mutation has since travelled the globe and kindled record levels of contagion, unlike the French one that researchers at the IHU Mediterranee Infection -- helmed by scientist Didier Raoult --nicknamed IHU.

The first patient identified with the variant was vaccinated and had just returned from Cameroon, IHU researchers wrote in a paper published on the medRxiv server in late December where they first drew attention to the atypical mutations.

The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, posted on the preprint repository MedRxiv on December 29, revealed that IHU has 46 mutations and 37 deletions resulting in 30 amino acid substitutions and 12 deletions.

It's "too early to speculate on virological, epidemiological or clinical features of this IHU variant based on these 12 cases," they wrote in the article.

Raoult stirred controversy in the early stages of the pandemic by recommending treatment with hydroxychloroquine.

The WHO monitors multiple variants, and when it finds one may pose a significant risk, it declares it a "variant of concern." This one is The World Health Organization said a coronavirus variant found in France hasn't become much of a threat since it was first identified in November only under investigation.

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