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Right about the time we were all instructed to disremember that Xi was skipped over in place of Omicron and that Pi ought not to be considered because it carries infinite mathematical connotations, there comes another variant of COVID, reportedly out of France.
An “official” from the World Health Organization (WHO) announced to the press on Tuesday that a new variant of COVID has infected 12 people in all of France. Yes, 12 people. He also revealed that the new variant was something the WHO was anticipating and monitoring closely, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The “IHU” variant, which was nicknamed by researchers at the Marseille-based Mediterranean Infection University Hospital Institute (IHU), has afflicted “some” individuals in the Southern Alps region in the country.
Abdi Mahamud, a WHO incident manager, told researchers in Geneva that it’s premature to “speculate on virological, epidemiological or clinical features” of the variant that was identified in November of 2021.
The IHU variant, or B.1.640.2, has 46 mutations, the outlet reported. But compared to previous mutations, there is reportedly little concern among experts. The first patient identified with the variant returned to France from visiting Cameroon, according to a study that was not peer-reviewed but was released in December and coincided with the emergence of the Omicron variant in South Africa, Newsweek reported.
Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, took to Twitter on Monday and posted that the ‘IHU’ variant is “definitely not one worth worrying about too much at the moment.”
Lots of chat about B.1.640.2 in the last few days – just a few points to keep in mind:
– B.1.640.2 actually predates Omicron
– in all that time there are exactly… 20 sequences (compared to the >120k Omis in less time)
Def not one worth worrying about too much at the mo…
— Tom Peacock (@PeacockFlu) January 3, 2022
Medical experts and policymakers have been struggling to reconcile the surge in Omicron cases and its seemingly incongruous relation to cases of hospitalizations and death. The nation of Israel, for example, recorded its highest-ever number of new infections on Tuesday at 11,978 cases. That record number is believed to be the result of the highly virulent but less deadly Omicron variant of the COVID virus, despite restrictions on travel and mandated quarantine strictures.
The WHO monitors multiple variants, and when it finds one may pose a significant risk, it declares it a “variant of concern.” This one is only under investigation, the Bloomberg article stated.
Just after Christmas of 2021, the CDC suddenly altered its quarantine guidance from 10 days down to five days, not because of “the science,” but because they apparently reassessed “what we thought people would tolerate.”
But sure, nothing political to see here.
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