Covid: New “Mu” variant, what we know about the strain monitored by WHO

Published by Caroline J. · Updated on 1 September 2021 at 17h26 · Published on 1 September 2021 at 08h58
The outbreak of new variants makes us fear the worst every time. Last night, the World Health Organization warned about a new strain, called “Mu”, and found this past January in Colombia. According to the health organization, this Covid-19 variant presents mutations likely to indicate “potential properties of immune escape”.

As coronavirus is still actively spreading over the world, new variants have been breaking out. Although some of them are no variants of concerns for scientists, other are closely monitored. This is the case of a new strain found this past January in Colombia. Called “Mu”, this new variant has been classified as “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the health organization, this strain – also known as B.1.621 – shows mutations likely to indicate “potential properties of immune escape”, that is to say, resistance to vaccines.

In their weekly epidemiologic bulletin, WHO stated the “Mu” variant has been found in other countries in South America and in Europe. “Although the global prevalence of the Mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1%, the prevalence in Colombia (39%) and Ecuador (13%) has consistently increased”, the health organization stated.

For the time being, WHO thoroughly monitors the new mutation and is yet still to carry out extra studies to better understand its features.

For the record, there are four variants of concerns including the Alpha variant (UK) spotted in 193 countries, the Delta variant (Indian) spotted in 170 countries, and the Beta variant (South-African). Five more mutations are monitored by WHO. “Mu” is now part of them.

Although some experts intend to be reassuring as for the outbreak of new variants, other are more cautious. So is La Pitié-Salpêtrière head of Nephrology Service Pr. Gilbert Deray. “We have to be worried about variants because the pandemic is not over on the global scale”, he said this Wednesday September 1 on RMC. “We won’t be safe as long as the epidemic is out of control”, he went on.

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