New COVID variant in Europe and Africa

This should be in NYC any day since so many international visitors come in thru our airports.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1544345/covid-warning-new-variant-detected-southern-france-coronavirus-cases-uk-cameroon

EXCLUSIVE: New Covid variant reaches UK after ‘severe’ mutated virus detected in France

A COVID warning has been issued for Britons as a new variant of the virus with “46 mutations” has already been found in the UK, Express.co.uk can confirm.

By CALLUM HOARE04:19, Thu, Jan 6, 2022 | UPDATED: 18:10, Thu, Jan 6, 2022293Copy link

Coronavirus in numbers: The latest statistics as of January 4

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It comes after scientists rang the alarm bells over “the emergence of a new variant” in southern France. They spotted 12 patients in the same region whose tests showed “an atypical combination”. The index case had returned from travelling to Cameroon, suggesting to experts that it may have originated in the African country.

Dubbed the IHU variant, its official name is B.1.640.2 and Express.co.uk can confirm there have been at least two cases “already in the UK,” but experts are monitoring it closely.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) commented: “We are aware of a small number of cases of B.1.640 in the UK and have been monitoring this particular variant specifically since late October.

“As it is in the nature of viruses to mutate often and at random, it is not unusual for small numbers of cases to arise featuring new sets of mutations.

“At the present time, it has not been designated a Variant Under Investigation or a Variant of Concern.

“UKHSA is monitoring the domestic and international situation closely through our world-leading genomic surveillance.”

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EXCLUSIVE: New Covid variant reaches UK after ‘severe’ mutated virus detected in France

A COVID warning has been issued for Britons as a new variant of the virus with “46 mutations” has already been found in the UK, Express.co.uk can confirm.

By CALLUM HOARE04:19, Thu, Jan 6, 2022 | UPDATED: 18:10, Thu, Jan 6, 2022293Copy link

Coronavirus in numbers: The latest statistics as of January 4

Sign up HERE for science breakthroughs in health, business and more that matter SUBSCRIBE

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

It comes after scientists rang the alarm bells over “the emergence of a new variant” in southern France. They spotted 12 patients in the same region whose tests showed “an atypical combination”. The index case had returned from travelling to Cameroon, suggesting to experts that it may have originated in the African country.

Dubbed the IHU variant, its official name is B.1.640.2 and Express.co.uk can confirm there have been at least two cases “already in the UK,” but experts are monitoring it closely.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) commented: “We are aware of a small number of cases of B.1.640 in the UK and have been monitoring this particular variant specifically since late October.

“As it is in the nature of viruses to mutate often and at random, it is not unusual for small numbers of cases to arise featuring new sets of mutations.

“At the present time, it has not been designated a Variant Under Investigation or a Variant of Concern.

“UKHSA is monitoring the domestic and international situation closely through our world-leading genomic surveillance.”

The new variant has reportedly been found in the UK

The new variant has reportedly been found in the UK (Image: GETTY)

The variant was detected in France

The variant was detected in France (Image: GETTY)

The WHO has also confirmed it is “monitoring” the variant.

In a press conference today, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said: “This variant…has been characterised as a variant under monitoring.

“Our understanding is it is not very well circulating. 

“Within France, less than one percent of the samples that were sequenced in France are of this particular variant.”

There are scores of new variants discovered all the time, but it does not necessarily mean they will be more dangerous than Delta or Alpha.

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.

This is when it becomes a “variant of concern” – like Omicron.

Discount codesPuzzlesHoroscopesIn Your AreaShopPaperLOGINREGISTER4°CFind us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on Instagram

EXCLUSIVE: New Covid variant reaches UK after ‘severe’ mutated virus detected in France

A COVID warning has been issued for Britons as a new variant of the virus with “46 mutations” has already been found in the UK, Express.co.uk can confirm.

By CALLUM HOARE04:19, Thu, Jan 6, 2022 | UPDATED: 18:10, Thu, Jan 6, 2022293Copy link

Coronavirus in numbers: The latest statistics as of January 4

Sign up HERE for science breakthroughs in health, business and more that matter SUBSCRIBE

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

It comes after scientists rang the alarm bells over “the emergence of a new variant” in southern France. They spotted 12 patients in the same region whose tests showed “an atypical combination”. The index case had returned from travelling to Cameroon, suggesting to experts that it may have originated in the African country.

Dubbed the IHU variant, its official name is B.1.640.2 and Express.co.uk can confirm there have been at least two cases “already in the UK,” but experts are monitoring it closely.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) commented: “We are aware of a small number of cases of B.1.640 in the UK and have been monitoring this particular variant specifically since late October.

“As it is in the nature of viruses to mutate often and at random, it is not unusual for small numbers of cases to arise featuring new sets of mutations.

“At the present time, it has not been designated a Variant Under Investigation or a Variant of Concern.

“UKHSA is monitoring the domestic and international situation closely through our world-leading genomic surveillance.”

The new variant has reportedly been found in the UK

The new variant has reportedly been found in the UK (Image: GETTY)

The variant was detected in France

The variant was detected in France (Image: GETTY)

The WHO has also confirmed it is “monitoring” the variant.

In a press conference today, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said: “This variant…has been characterised as a variant under monitoring.

“Our understanding is it is not very well circulating. 

“Within France, less than one percent of the samples that were sequenced in France are of this particular variant.”

There are scores of new variants discovered all the time, but it does not necessarily mean they will be more dangerous than Delta or Alpha.

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.

This is when it becomes a “variant of concern” – like Omicron.

Covid cases in the UK

Covid cases in the UK (Image: GETTY)

It remains to be seen in which category this new variant will fall.

The variant’s presence was first detected by experts at the IHU Mediterranee Infection in Marseille.

They announced on their Twitter earlier this month that they had detected a new variant in COVID-19 patients from Forcalquier, in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region.

Scientists say the lineage is genetically different to B.1.640, which is thought to have emerged in the Democratic Republic of Congo in September.

Tests show the strain carries the E484K mutation that is thought to 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.

It is a distant relative of Omicron, which scientists say likely evolved from an older virus.

It has reportedly been found in the UK too

It has reportedly been found in the UK too (Image: GETTY)

There is a huge boost to vaccinate Britons

There is a huge boost to vaccinate Britons (Image: GETTY)

But there is no need to fear, according to Deputy Director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Professor Ewan Birney.

He told Express.co.uk: 

“The B.1.640.2 lineage which this paper describes from French samples with recent travel to Cameroon.

“This was designated in early December 2021 with virus sequences dating back to November, and this splits the B.1.640 lineage into two – B.1.640.1 and B.1.640.2.

“This does share many mutations with Omicron, but it has not expanded explosively across the world.

“As with all viruses with many mutations scientists keep a careful watch, but because this virus has not expanded it is not of high concern, and thus does not have a Greek letter assigned by WHO.

“The UK has seen a couple of these sequences, but nowhere near the scale of Omicron.”

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