COVID-19 virus

An infectious disease expert said that the new coronavirus variant called “IHU” is not yet identified as a threat at this point in time.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently monitoring this variant but has yet to identify if this is a “variant of concern” or a “variant of interest,” said Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the Department of Health- Technical Advisory Group during the Malacanang briefing on Thursday night, Jan. 6.

“WHO has already been monitoring this since November of last year. Ito po yung lineage na B.1.640, at so far, marami po siyang mutations pero wala naman siyang pinapakita na survival advantage or immune deviation na nakikita natin sa Delta o sa Omicron (This is the lineage B.1.640, and so far, it has many mutations but it does not show the survival advantage or immune deviation that we see in Delta or Omicron),” said Salvana.

“It’s a variant that is being monitored but it is not yet as concerning as Omicron or Delta or even the other ones like Alpha, Beta, and Gamma,” he added.

The country should be more concerned about the Delta and Omicron variants, said Salvana.

“We will continue to monitor this. But right now, I think our attention really has to be on Delta and Omicron because this is really wreaking havoc all over the world,” he said.

Salvana said that the IHU variant “is not exhibiting increased infectivity or immune evasion at this time.”

“Mutations do not always mean increased infectivity or immune evasion,” he said.

“The conclusion of the WHO is that IHU is not a threat this time,” he added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (