New coronavirus variant identified in France, WHO downplays threat

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A new coronavirus variant has been identified in France know officially as the B.1.640.2. It was discovered in a traveler returning from Cameroon and has a high number of mutations.

The new variant was detected in early December in a traveler who returned to France from Cameroon, the hospital IHU Mediterrannee in Marseille announced. The returnee from Cameroon reportedly infected 12 people in southern France.

This new mutant, called B.1.640.2, has 46 mutations in an “atypical combination,” according to a preprint study that has not yet been peer-reviewed.   

According to this study, the two already known spike protein mutations N501Y and E484K are also found in the new coronavirus variant. The N501Y mutation, for example, was detected very early in the alpha variant. It causes the pathogen to bind more strongly to human cells and thus to spread more easily in the body.

E484K is one of the escape mutations located directly in the spike protein and thus possibly reduces the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

The World Health Organization said a coronavirus variant found in France hasn’t become much of a threat since it was first identified in November.

The variant “has been on our radar,” Abdi Mahamud, a WHO incident manager on Covid, said at a press briefing in Geneva. “That virus had a lot of chances to pick up.”

Read more via DW/TIME

Once you're here...

Powered by Live Score & Live Score App