A woman living in southwestern France has been detected with the coronavirus variant first detected, regional health agency director Benoit Elleboode said on Thursday.
A first case, involving a woman who travelled to India and is living in southwestern France, was confirmed on Thursday, the ministry said. Two other people who travelled to India were infected with the so-called Indian variant in southeastern France, the ministry said.
The variant, named B.1.617, has been reported in some 17 countries, raising global concern.
What is the Indian variant?
The B.1.617 variant contains two key mutations to the outer “spike” portion of the virus that attaches to human cells, said senior Indian virologist Shahid Jameel.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the predominant lineage of B.1.617 was first identified in India last December, although an earlier version was spotted in October 2020.
The WHO has described it as a “variant of interest”, suggesting it may have mutations that would make the virus more transmissible, cause more severe disease or evade vaccine immunity. Other strains with known risks, such as those first detected in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa, have been categorised as “variants of concern,” a higher threat level.