COVID-19 variant: World Health Organization says there is little reason to worry about new strain discovered in France

The World Health Organization has moved to reassure people about a COVID-19 strain that has spread from Africa to France.

Concerns about the variant, called B.1.640.2 or IHU, increased in the press this week when a French traveler who recently visited Cameroon was tested positive.

Watch the video above for everything you need to know about the new variant

This was stated by WHO spokesman, dr. Margaret Harris Sunrise the variant was “definitely on the watch list”, but does not appear to pose a risk of overtaking Delta or Omicron as the dominant strain.

“It has many mutations, but it does not appear to be as effective at transmitting itself,” she said Friday.

The new COVID variant has been discovered in Africa and France.
The new COVID variant has been discovered in Africa and France. Credit: Getty Images

Dr. Harris said the WHO has “known about the” virus strain since “at least in November, when we first put it on our watch list,” and that it was originally identified in the Congo last September.

She said the bug “mostly” spread in Africa, but a cluster had begun to emerge in southern France.

“We have not seen it much elsewhere,” she confirmed.

“Some of it may be due to a lack of genetic sequencing.”

Health experts monitor the spread of the strain.  File image.
Health experts monitor the spread of the strain. File image. Credit: Getty Images

Dr. Harris said heath experts would continue to monitor the variant and that its emergence served as a warning to anyone about getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

“That’s what’s going to keep people out of the hospital.”

“It’s also very important that individuals understand how to protect themselves,” she said.

Proposed measures included regular masking, social distancing, and improving ventilation at home and at work.

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