New Covid-19 variant emerge

What you need to know about the PI Variant

January 2022

Mutate, mutate, mutate

Covid-19 coronavirus can mutate mutate, AND mutate. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that yet another new variant has been detected. The PI Variant,  bears the name B.1.640.2. and temporarily dubbed the “variant IHU” because a team from the Méditerranée Infection University Hospital Institute (IHU) in Marseilles, France, was the first to report the variant in a pre-print uploaded to MedRxiv on December 29.

It’s not yet clear whether this B.1.640.2 variant will be that much trouble or anything like the Delta and Omicron variants.

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What matters

B.1.640.2 has two noteworthy mutations — N501Y and E484K — that could hint at the mutation’s ability to evade vaccines.

The first was found in the alpha variant of the coronavirus.

The second mutation “is one of the escape mutations located directly in the spike protein and thus probably affects the COVID vaccines’ effectiveness”

This variant may have been seen before. As I reported for the Deseret News, a new COVID-19 variant — called B.1.X or B.1.640 — infected 24 people in a French school in October 2021. A handful of cases were found throughout Europe in the days after.

Cyrille Cohen, a professor at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, told The Jerusalem Post at the time that the B.1.640 variant has some mutations to keep in mind.

“This variant exemplifies that if you leave some of the world’s population without access to vaccines, then the virus will continue to multiply and it will lead to more variants,” Cohen said.

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New covid-19 variant emerge — navus health

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