What is the new Covid variant IHU?

THE SPREAD of Covid-19 first began in 2020, with multiple new variants of the disease emerging since.

Among one of the newer variants is IHU, which was first spotted in France.

What is the new Covid variant IHU?

With the first case of the new Covid-19 variant IHU being recorded in December of 2021, scientists are working to decipher the seriousness of the illness.

"We indeed have several cases of this new variant in the Marseille geographical area," said Professor Philippe Colson, head of the Méditerranée Infection Foundation.

"We named it 'variant IHU'. Two new genomes have just been submitted."

The IHU variant is said to have up to 46 mutations.

The Marseille infections have been linked to travels in Cameroon, but show little signs of outcompeting Omicron.

Omicron now makes up over 60 percent of cases in France, and is dominant in many other countries.

According to scientists, mutated variants are extremely common among viruses, and most are not as serious as the original.

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What other variants of Covid-19 are there?

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 was first reported by WHO on November 24, 2021.

Vaccine effectiveness & Omicron

Expert studies have shown that the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 is reduced by 90 percent or more among people who are fully vaccinated.

While there are breakthrough cases of Covid among people who are vaccinated, they are rare.

In the event of a breakthrough case, victims are highly unlikely to be hospitalized with severe or deadly symptoms from the virus.

Health officials have advised that the Omicron variant is more infectious and could lead to further breakthrough cases.

Yet the spread can be offset by all vaccinated Americans receiving a booster shot.

Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant.

With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.

Studies have also shown that side effects from the vaccine are extremely rare.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

First discovered in South Africa, the variant has since spread worldwide.

With its many mutations, scientists have referred to Omicron as a "variant of concern," with early evidence that "suggests an increased risk of reinfection."

Omicron has not appeared to be as dangerous for those infected as Covid-19 cases of the past, but is at an increased risk of spreading.

In April of 2021, the Delta variant of Covid-19 began to pop up in countries around the world.

The Delta variant appears to be harder on the immune system than Omicron, but those with vaccinations and boosters may not experience as severe of symptoms as those without.

Some symptoms associated with the variants include a runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat.

What did President Joe Biden say about the new variants?

On January 4, 2022, President Joe Biden addressed the nation in regards to the recent surge in Covid-19 cases and the variants thought to be behind the rise.

"We have the tools to protect people from severe illness due to Omicron – if people choose to use the tools," Biden said.

"There’s a lot of reason to be hopeful in [2022], but for God’s sake, please take advantage of what’s available."

The President encouraged Americans to continue to get vaccinated, receive boosters, wear masks in public, and follow the rules of social distancing.

"You can still get Covid, but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll become seriously ill," Biden said, in reference to those who are fully vaccinated.

"If you’re vaccinated and boosted, you are highly protected. Be concerned about Omicron, but don’t be alarmed," he continued.

"And if you’re unvaccinated, you have some reasons to be alarmed. You’ll experience severe illness in many cases."

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