French media are reporting that a new Covid variant with 46 mutations has been discovered in the country.
The new strain, named IHU, has been discovered in the southwest of France and, according to multiple news outlets, intensive care and hospital admissions have been increasing in that region in recent days.
So far, there are 12 confirmed cases of IHU, or B16402. The case was first linked to a man who had returned from a three-day trip to Cameroon, in Western Africa, researchers said today.
The variant is described as ‘heavily mutated’, with some French researchers suggesting, since the strain contains 46 mutations, it may be more resistant to vaccines and more transmissible.
The discovery comes as France reported 271,686 new coronavirus cases today, the biggest one-day increase on record.
Confirmed case fully vaccinated
Researchers said in a document published on medRxiv’s platform today that the first confirmed IHU case was fully vaccinated.
The authors explained that “subsequent detection… of three mutations in the spike gene to screen for variants… did not correspond to the pattern of the Delta variant involved in almost all SARS-CoV-2 infections at that time.”
Following the discovery, virologist Eric Feigl-Ding, who is also a fellow at Federation of American Scientists, said the new variant was being monitored but stressed that the discovery of new strains “does not necessarily mean they will be more dangerous.”