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- Scientists and experts in France have reportedly identified a new variant of COVID-19 termed ‘IHU’. The new variant is said to be a more mutated strain than Omicron.
- Nearly 12 cases of this new variant have been reported near Marseilles and has been linked to the African country Cameroon.
- The B.1.640.2 or IHU variant was first identified by the academics at institute IHU Mediterranee Infection and contains 46 mutations, which is more than Omicron.
While the world is grappling with the outburst of the Omicron virus with a very high transmissibility rate, scientists and experts in France have reportedly identified a new variant of COVID-19 termed ‘IHU’. The new variant is said to be a more mutated strain than Omicron.
According to media reports, nearly 12 cases of this new variant have been reported near Marseilles, and has been linked to the African country Cameroon. But, the Omicron strain is still dominating in most parts of the world.
The B.1.640.2 or IHU variant was first identified by the academics at institute IHU Mediterranee Infection and contains 46 mutations, which is more than Omicron.
AdvertisementThis new variant can be a major threat, however, the cases have not been reported so far in countries other than France and is not labelled as ‘variant under investigation’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to a paper posted on medRxiv, the strain carries the E484K mutation which can make it more resistant to vaccines. It also has the N501Y mutation — first seen on the Alpha variant — that experts believe can make it more transmissible.
The scientists say, “these observations show once again the unpredictability of the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants and their introduction from abroad. And they exemplify the difficulty to control such introduction and subsequent spread.”
Philippe Colson, the head and professor of the department at IHU that discovered the variant, said, “ We indeed have several cases of this new variant in the Marseilles geographical area. We named it ‘variant IHU’. Two new genomes have just been submitted.”
Renowned Epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, on Twitter, said, “The mutations have caused “Fourteen amino acid substitutions, and 9 amino acid deletions—which are located in the spike protein.”
He further added, “ There are scores of new variants discovered all the time, but it does not necessarily mean they will be more dangerous. What makes a variant more well-known and dangerous is its ability to multiply because of the number of mutations it has in relation to the original virus.”
Florona: Here’s all you need to know about the disease
- Israel, on December 31, 2021, announced the first case of Florona disease, which is a double-infection of the COVID-19 and influenza.
- Florona is a combination of flu and Coronavirus and double infection of the COVID-19. It is not a newly discovered disease and is caused by different viruses.
- When the viruses of both flu and Coronavirus are present in a body at the same time, it is regarded as Florona disease.
Amid the fears of Omicron taking over the Delta variant of COVID-19, Israel, on December 31, 2021, announced the first case of Florona disease, which is a double-infection of the COVID-19 and influenza. COVID-19 and influenza (flu) are both different infectious respiratory diseases and they share some similar symptoms.
The disease was first identified in a woman who went into labour this week in Israel and was also not vaccinated against COVID-19, as per the media reports.
What is Florona?
Florona is a combination of flu and Coronavirus and double infection of the COVID-19. It is not a newly discovered disease and is caused by different viruses. There are some differences in evaluating who is most vulnerable to severe disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Is it another variant of the COVID-19?
No, Florona is not another variant or mutant of the novel COVID-19. When the viruses of both flu and Coronavirus are present in a body at the same time, it is regarded as Florona disease.
What are the possible symptoms of Florona?
Both flu and COVID-19 are diseases, which hits your respiratory system and both have more or less same symptoms.According to the WHO, symptoms of both flu and COVID-19 can vary from person to person, however, some common symptoms which have been noted among people around the globe are —
- Loss of taste and smell
- Cold and cough
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Consistent pain in the chest
How does it spread?
Both COVID-19 and flu are spread when aerosol particles contaminated with the virus are released by an infected person while coughing, speaking or sneezing and a healthy person breathes that infected air. It usually takes around 2 to 10 days for the symptoms to appear after being infected with the virus and the risk of spreading the virus to others is greater during the initial days, according to a Times of India report.
How can we treat this disease?
According to a Moneycontrol report, the treatment options in use for COVID-19 at medical facilities include oxygen, corticosteroids, and IL6 receptor blockers for severely ill patients.
Treatment for people with severe respiratory illness includes advanced respiratory support such as the use of ventilators. Several other treatment options for COVID-19 are currently in clinical trials.
Should we worry about the new disease?
We all know that the COVID-19 has a long-term damaging effect on our bodies, if our body catches both Coronavirus and flu at the same time, it would be very difficult for our bodies to fight both viruses.
How can we protect ourselves from this new disease?
According to the World Health Organization, we should continue to follow prevention measures, such as maintaining at least a one metre distance from others, wearing a well-fitted mask when keeping your distance is not possible, avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated places and settings, opening windows and doors to keep rooms well ventilated and cleaning your hands frequently.