As the Delta variant of the COVID virus sweeps the world, another new variant, called Mu, has come on the scene. The World Health Organization (WHO) is keeping an eye on this one and giving info we need for dealing with it as well as we can in the middle of the continuing pandemic world.
What Is The Mu Variant?
The first documented samples of the Mu variant were reported in Colombia in January 2021, but it wasn’t until August that the variant was granted designation. This means the variant wasn’t of significant enough difference from prior variants to warrant additional monitoring until August (i.e., significant enough community transmission across multiple nations).
The Mu variant has genetic changes that may make it more transmissible and capable of causing more severe disease. It may also be more capable of nonresponse to vaccines currently being administered. This information is unknown of yet, however.
The variant is currently designated as a variant of interest rather than a variant of concern, though, meaning that WHO is keeping an eye on the mutation and studying the genetic changes and impact on the world scene. They continue monitoring the variant with to understand if it should be redesignated to the “concern alert” level.
Where Is The Mu Variant Spreading?
While the variant was first documented in Colombia, it has been since detected in 40 countries, including the United States. However, the variant is only thought to be responsible for 0.1% of the global infections currently.
Do Our Current Vaccines Work Against Mu?
The WHO has called the Mu variant a “constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape.” In other words, the variant has the potential being able to infect those with an existing vaccine. Ultimately, the variant hasn’t gone under enough testing for us to have a better understanding of its vulnerability to vaccinations yet.
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