SARS-CoV-2 variant named 'IHU' emerges in France
Marseille: A new type of combination variant B.1.640.2, has been discovered in Southeastern France in twelve individuals samples, according to the research paper which has been published in MedRxiv on December 10 2021. The research paper has not been published in an academic journal and yet to be evaluated for the same.The new variant is called 'IHU' in reference to the institute...
Marseille: A new type of combination variant B.1.640.2, has been discovered in Southeastern France in twelve individuals samples, according to the research paper which has been published in MedRxiv on December 10 2021. The research paper has not been published in an academic journal and yet to be evaluated for the same.
The new variant is called 'IHU' in reference to the institute 'IHU Mediterranee Infection', where it was discovered. It has 46 mutations while Omicron or B.1.1.529 is known to have 50 mutations and delta variant or B.1.617.2 genome with 13 mutations.
The presence of mutations E484K in IHU variant (which is not seen in both Delta and Omicron) is what makes the researcher believe it more resistant to existing vaccines and infectious than the original virus. However, on a more positive note, the new strain does not give off impression of being spreading quickly. Also, a growing body of research demonstrates that it is doubtful to trigger severe disease.
Researchers performed reverse transcription PCR (qPCR) on the first identified case sample who had a travel history in Cameroon and vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. They detected three mutations of L452R-negativity, E484K-positivity, and E484Q-negativity that did not correspond to the pattern of the Delta variant (L452R-positive) and Omicron (L452R-negative and negative for S gene detection). This atypical combination makes the new variant different from pre-identified ones.
The researchers further performed analysis of viral genomes that revealed the presence of fourteen amino acid substitutions, including N501Y and E484K, and 9 deletions are located in the spike protein. Another respiratory samples collected from eleven other SARS-CoV-2-positive patients living in the same geographical area were then analyzed until end of November 2021. All these results exhibited the same combination of mutations screened by qPCR in the previous case.
"These data are another example of the unpredictability of the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, and of their introduction in a given geographical area from abroad.' the researchers say in their paper.
Reference: Emergence in Southern France of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant of probably Cameroonian origin harbouring both substitutions N501Y and E484K in the spike protein. doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.24.21268174
Lalhmangaihkimi joined Medical Dialogues in December 2021. She has completed her post-graduation in Forensic Science from University of Delhi.