Scientists in France have discovered another Covid-19 variant a few months after South African Scientists detected the Omicron variant.
The discovery of the new variant, named B.1.640.2, was announced in a paper posted on medRxiv.
Called IHU, as of now, the strain was discovered by academics based at the IHU Mediterranee Infection on 10 December.
Researchers say that it contains 46 mutations — even more than Omicron — which makes it more resistant to vaccines and infectious.
The reports said some 12 cases have been spotted so far near Marseille, with the first linked to travel to the African country Cameroon.
Tests also show the strain carries the N501Y mutation — first seen on the Alpha variant — that experts believe can make it more transmissible.
According to the scientists, it carries the E484K mutation, which could mean that the IHU variant will be more resistant to vaccines.
It is yet to be spotted in other countries or labelled a variant under investigation by the World Health Organization.
Omicron dominant variant
Currently, Omicron is the dominant coronavirus variant in France, joining other European countries like the United Kingdom and Portugal with surging case numbers over the past few days.
France’s public health agency had recently said that “62.4 percent of tests showed a profile compatible with the Omicron variant”.
The Omicron variant of coronavirus has stoked average daily confirmed cases to more than 160,000 per day over the past week, with peaks above 200,000.