French researchers say the new variant contains 46 mutations which may make it more resistant to vaccines and more transmissible.

Omicron is still the most dominant Covid-19 variant in France.
Omicron is still the most dominant Covid-19 variant in France. (AFP)

While Omicron is still the dominating variant in most parts of the world, a new Covid-19 variant has been discovered in France.

The B.1.640.2, or IHU variant, was first identified by academics and scientists at France-based IHU Mediterranee Infection on Monday.

Nearly 12 cases of the variant were identified in Marseilles, with the first case linked to a person who recently travelled to western Africa's Cameroon, The Independent reported.

The person returned to France from a three-day trip to Cameroon, and is reported to have been fully vaccinated, it added.

However, as of yet IHU has not been detected in another country and has not been labelled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization.

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More mutated than Omicron

IHU researchers obtained the genomes with next-generation sequencing with Oxford Nanopore Technologies, according to the institute's study published on medRxiv

The researchers said the new variant contains more mutations than Omicron, with 46 counted, which may make it more resistant to vaccines and more transmissible.

Professor Philippe Colson, head of the department at IHU institute that discovered the variant, confirmed the variant's presence in France to Business Insider.

"We indeed have several cases of this new variant in the Marseilles geographical area. We named it 'variant IHU'. Two new genomes have just been submitted," said Colson.

The study's authors said their findings show the “unpredictability of the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants”.

However, epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, citing IHU, said on Twitter that the emergence of new variants does not necessarily mean they will be more dangerous.

READ MORE: Can an Omicron coronavirus infection stave off the Delta variant?

Source: TRT World