More Bad News: French Scientists Discover New COVID-19 Variant

More Bad News: French Scientists Discover New COVID-19 Variant

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent

As the world continues to struggle with the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus and the still-lingering delta variant, scientists in France say they have discovered a new variant that contains multiple mutations.

Experts at the IHU Mediterranee Infection in Marseille said they had discovered the new variant in December in 12 patients living near Marseille, with the first patient testing positive after travelling to the central African nation of Cameroon.

The French scientists said they had identified 46 mutations in the new variant, dubbed B.1.640.2, that could make it more resistant to vaccines and more infectious than the original virus.

Meanwhile, a new study out of Denmark reveals omicron is better at avoiding the human immune system, even in people vaccinated against COVID-19. In a study of 12,000 households, researchers at the University of Copenhagen discovered that omicron was between 2.7 and 3.7 times more infectious than delta among vaccinated Danes.

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, also found that unvaccinated individuals are more likely to transmit the coronavirus than those who have been fully vaccinated and received a booster shot. Against omicron, vaccine effectiveness was reduced to about 40% against symptoms and to 80% against severe disease, and booster shots improved those numbers to 86% against symptoms and 98% against severe disease.

“Our findings confirm that the rapid spread of the Omicron variant primarily can be ascribed to the immune evasiveness rather than an inherent increase in the basic transmissibility,” the researchers wrote.

Omicron’s Spread

The omicron outbreak continues to wreak havoc on cities and countries around the world, pushing enormous strains on health care systems.

In the U.S., omicron represented 95.4% of the coronavirus strains in the country as of Saturday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Omicron surpassed delta as the dominant strain since its initial detection in the U.S. on December 1, pushing daily infections past the 1 million mark on Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The numbers are nearly double that of the previous record of about 590,000 set just last week, driven mostly by the omicron variant.

The CDC said omicron accounted for about 77% of cases in the U.S. in the week ending December 25, a percentage sharply higher than its 58.6% projection announced the previous week.

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