Coronavirus: New COVID-19 variant I.H.U. is not concerning to WHO

The World Health Organization is saying a new variant of the COVID-19 virus is not a concern at this time, The New York Times is reporting.

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The B.1.640.2 variant, being called “IHU” by French researchers after the research institute in Marseille that helped identify it, has been identified in a dozen people in France.

Abdi Mahmud, a COVID-19 incident manager with the WHO, on Tuesday told reporters in Geneva that the variant had been on the agency’s radar since November, The Times reported.

Mahmud said that the variant did not appear to have spread widely over the past two months.

“That virus has had a lot of chances to pick up,” Mahmud said.

According to a study that has been published but has not been peer-reviewed, researchers found that it contained 46 mutations from the original version of the coronavirus.

The omicron variant, which first appeared in November as well, has at least 36 mutations, according to researchers.

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