Scientists in France have identified a new strain of coronavirus with more mutations than the Omicron variant and have linked the new variant to Africa.
At least 12 cases of the new variant have been reported near Marseilles, and has been linked to travel to the African country Cameroon.
“The mutation set and phylogenetic position of the genomes obtained here indicate based on our previous definition a new variant we named IHU,” the authors of the study said.
“These data are another example of the unpredictability of the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, and of their introduction in a given geographical area from abroad,” they added.
According to a paper posted on medRxiv, the genomes were obtained by next-generation sequencing with Oxford Nanopore Technologies on GridION instruments.
“Fourteen amino acid substitutions, including N501Y and E484K, and 9 deletions are located in the spike protein. This genotype pattern led to create a new Pangolin lineage named B.1.640.2, which is a phylogenetic sister group to the old B.1.640 lineage renamed B.1.640.1,” the research paper said.