West News Wire: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the novel Covid-19 variation B.1.640, which was discovered by French researchers and is likely of Cameroonian origin, is not “circulating widely at the present” and has been identified in less than 1% of the samples sequenced in France.

According to the sources, the strain is also known as the ‘IHU’ variety since it was initially identified by scholars at the IHU Mediterranee Infection Centre in Marseille, France.

The variation was first found in September 2021 in a number of nations, according to Maria van Kerkhove, technical head for the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, who spoke at a news conference on Thursday.

In November, the WHO designated it as a “variant under monitoring” (VUM) after internal talks.

According to the WHO’s definition, a VUM is SARS-CoV-2 variant with genetic changes that are suspected to affect virus characteristics, which may pose a future risk, but evidence of phenotypic or epidemiological impact is currently unclear, thus requiring enhanced monitoring and repeat assessment pending new evidence.

Van Kerkhove explained that since the B.1.640 variant has many mutations, the WHO classified it as a VUM is to raise the public’s awareness.

She reiterated that current Covid-19 vaccines do work against all variants that are circulating and are highly effective against preventing severe diseases and death.

“I think that’s really important for the public to know, when it is your turn, get vaccinated because it’s really critical,” she said.

Katherine O’Brien, director of the WHO’s Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals Department, said that B.1.640 is not a variant that is increasing in prevalence but is a small fraction of the strains that are circulating.

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