The variant has already affected 25 people in Cyprus.
According to Dr Leondios Kostrikis, the head of the laboratory of biotechnology and molecular virology at the University of Cyprus, of the 25 samples taken in Cyprus, 11 were hospitalised due to the virus, while 14 were from the general population, the Cyprus Mail reported.
Kostrikis stated that the fact that the frequency of the mutation among hospitalised patients was higher could point to a correlation between the new variant and hospitalisations.
However, the new variant was not something to worry about at the moment, Cyprus’s Health Minister Michalis Hadjipandelas was quoted as saying.
It is “quite possible” that the new strain has not been found elsewhere, and the sequences of the cases have been sent to GISAID, an open access database that tracks developments in the coronavirus, the Cyprus Mail reported.
Studies have shown that the co-existence of Delta and Omicron increases the chances of a new variant as a result of them trading genes.
In line with this, France recently detected a variant with 46 mutations, and was dubbed as IHU.
The new variant from the lineage named B.1.640.2 is believed to have infected 12 people in the country, according to the yet-to-be peer-reviewed study supported by the French government.
While it may pose a greater risk than Omicron, touted as highly transmissible but mild in infections and less lethal than previous the Delta variant, researchers said, “it is too early to speculate on virological, epidemiological or clinical features of this IHU variant based on (just) 12 cases”.
Cases of simultaneous flu and Covid-19 infections have also been detected – 2 in the US and 1 in Israel. While in the US, ‘Flurona’ was found in two young children, in Israel it was detected in a pregnant woman.