The World Health Organization has commented on reports of the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19 in France.
WHO incident manager Abdi Mahamud said the hydroforming variant was “on our radar” during a press conference in Geneva in a dozen patients in the Southern Alps at the time of Omicron’s appearance.
Despite widespread panic that another strain will be found, there is no sign that it will become a worrying variant.
The first evidence of hydroforming can be traced back to a vaccinated man who had returned to his home country France after a three-day trip from Cameroon.
However, this does not confirm that the origin of the variety is in West Africa.
What is the hydroforming variant?
In a French study, IHU was reported to have 46 mutations while Omicron has 37 – but this claim has yet to be confirmed by peer-reviewed analysis.
After the review, the WHO will decide whether it should be classified as a worrying variant alongside Alpha, Delta and Omicron.
Of the 46 mutations, two were seen in previous variants, N501Y and E484K.
N501Y was found in Alpha and is what causes the virus to bind human cells. Effective in making human transmission possible.
The E484K mutation is of particular concern as it may reduce the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Didier Raoult, who leads research into the variant, caused controversy at the beginning of the pandemic.
He recommended using an anti-malarial drug to treat the coronavirus, but clinical studies have shown that hydroxychloroquine is unlikely to be effective for treatment.
Some patients have had serious side effects, such as an irregular heartbeat.
Why is the variant called IHU?
The variant is called IHU because it is being researched at IHU Méditerranée Infection, the University Hospital of Marseille.
The IHU only receives a moniker in the Greek alphabet if this becomes “worrying”.