ihu: WHO downplays threat of ‘IHU’ strain discovered in France

The WHO said a variant found in France had not become a threat since it was first identified in November. The variant “has been on our radar,” Abdi Mahamud, WHO incident manager on Covid, said on Tuesday. “This virus has had a very good chance of spreading.” The variant, under study, was identified in 12 people in the Southern Alps around the same time Omicron was discovered in South Africa last year. This last mutation has since toured the globe, unlike the French one that researchers at IHU Méditerranée Infection – led by scientist Didier Raoult – nickname IHU.
The first patient identified with the strain was vaccinated and had just returned from Cameroon, IHU scientists wrote in an article posted on the medRxiv server in late December. It is “too early to speculate on the virological, epidemiological or clinical characteristics of the IHU variant based on these 12 cases,” they wrote in the yet-to-peer-reviewed article. Raoult had previously sparked controversy by recommending treatment with hydroxychloroquine.

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