Mu COVID Variant: Can It Escape Vaccines? What's WHO Saying?
The global health body on 31 August announced that the variant has been classified as a "variant of interest".
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A new variant of COVID-19 known as Mu or B.1.621 has been identified and is being monitored by the World Health Organization.
The variant, first found in Colombia in January this year, was classified as a "variant of interest" in late August.
What is the new Mu variant? Is it resistant to to vaccines? Should I be concerned? Here's everything you need to know.
What is the new Mu variant?
The Mu variant is believed to have a constellation or a bunch of mutation that makes it strong enough to show resistance towards vaccines.
The bulletin that was released by the global health body further mentioned "the Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape."
The WHO added the Mu variant to its watchlist on Monday, 30 August.
What is a variant of interest?
WHO has categorised Mu as a 'variant of interest', which means the strain has been “identified to cause significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 clusters, in multiple countries with increasing relative prevalence alongside increasing number of cases over time, or other apparent epidemiological impacts to suggest an emerging risk to global public health".
How many countries have reported cases of the Mu variant?
Mu variant has been detected in almost 39 countries as of now, reported The Guardian. It was first detected in Colombia, South Africa.
Cases have been reported in other places, such as the US, Europe, UK, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Spain.
Why did WHO add this variant to its watchlist?
According to the world health body, globally the cases of Mu variant is less than 0.1 percent but in Colombia and Ecuador, cases have increased drastically. As much as 39 percent of the cases recorded in Colombia and 13 percent of the cases in Ecuador are of the Mu variant.
Do we know whether it is resistant to vaccines?
The WHO in a statement said that more research is needed on this variant to confirm if it is resistant to vaccines. Watch out this space for more information.
Is this variant more contagious?
As of now, it is not yet confirmed if this new variant is more contagious.
(With Inputs from The Guardian and The Indian Express)
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