WHO is’monitoring’ a new Covid variant with a ‘large number of mutations’ after cases were discovered in the United Kingdom.


WHO is’monitoring’ a new Covid variant with a ‘large number of mutations’ after cases in the UK were discovered.

After cases were confirmed in the United Kingdom, the World Health Organization (WHO) is “monitoring” a new COVID-19 variant discovered in southern France.

Although the variant has a “large number of mutations,” the WHO cautioned that it is not currently circulating widely.

“This variant…has been characterised as a variant under monitoring,” Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said during a COVID-19 media briefing.

“From what we’ve heard, it’s not widely distributed.”

“This variant is found in less than 1% of French samples sequenced.”

Dr. Van Kerkhove, on the other hand, cautioned that people should remain vigilant and “on the lookout.”

“The reason we classify it as a Variant Under Monitoring is to raise awareness and to alert people to be on the lookout for it,” she explained.

The strain has two “sublineages,” officially known as B1.640.1 and B1.640.2. It was unofficially dubbed the IHU variant by those who discovered it.

This variant was first reported “in a number of countries” in September 2021, according to the WHO.

At least two cases of this strain have been documented in the United Kingdom, according to this website.

“We are aware of a small number of cases of B1.640 in the UK and have been monitoring this particular variant specifically since late October,” the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) told this website.

“Because viruses mutate frequently and at random, small numbers of cases with new mutations are not uncommon.”

“It has not been designated as a Variant Under Investigation or a Variant of Concern at this time.”

Vaccines for COVID-19, however, “work against all circulating variants,” according to Dr. Van Kerkhove.

“They [the vaccines]are highly effective at preventing severe disease and death,” she continued.

“I believe it is critical for the public to be aware of this.

“Get vaccinated when it’s your turn because vaccines save lives.”

This comes after “the emergence of a new variant” in France’s south in December alarmed experts.

In a paper published on December 29, the experts stated that they discovered a “cluster” of 12 patients in the same area who had “an atypical combination” of tests.

Deputy Director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Professor Ewan Birney

“News from the Brinkwire.”


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