#Roommates, just as the world was dealing with the Delta variant of COVID-19 (which is the stronger second strain of the highly contagious virus,) it appears that a new concern is on the horizon putting health officials on high alert. According to the World Health Organization (or WHO) there is a new variant of COVID-19 called “Mu”—which has already been detected in almost 40 countries.
@TheGuardian reports, there are new rising concerns from the World Health Organization that another variant of the coronavirus called Mu, is among “variants of interest” due to recent concerns it could possibly be resistant to immunity people developed from past COVID-19 infection or vaccination. The Mu variant, technically known as B.1.621, was added to WHO’s watchlist earlier this week after it was found to have been detected in 39 countries so far. According to the health agency’s weekly COVID-19 update, the Mu variant is described as “a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape.”
The Mu variant was initially found in Colombia back in January and since that time, both smaller and larger outbreaks have been discovered throughout the world, including the UK, Europe, Hong Kong and even here in the U.S. Mu currently accounts for 39% of COVID-19 cases in Colombia and 13% of cases in Ecuador. However, the WHO report states that as of now, there is no evidence or concern that Mu is more serious or transmissible than the Delta variant.
“At present, there is no evidence that VUI-21JUL-01 is outcompeting the Delta variant and it appears unlikely that it is more transmissible. [However] immune escape may contribute to future changes in growth,” the report stated.
The main concern surrounding the Mu variant is due to its particular mutation. The P681H mutation, found in the first strain of coronavirus, has been linked to faster transmission.
Meanwhile other mutations, such as E484K and K417N, may help the Mu variant evade immunity defenses, which could give it an advantage over Delta as immunity rises well into the fall season.
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