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Mu COVID-19 Variant: WHO Designates the New Strain as ‘Variant of Interest,’ Could Be More Vaccine Resistant

Mu, a coronavirus strain identified in Colombia in January, was added to the World Health Organization’s “Variants of Interest” list on Monday.

Mu COVID-19 Variant

WHO monitors Mu COVID-19 variant which is designated as “Variant of Interest” (Photo: Gulf News)

Mu COVID-19 Strain as “Variant of Interest”

In a recently published article in Forbes, the Mu COVID-19 strain, which was originally discovered in Colombia, has been designated as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization (WHO), which has pledged to keep an eye on its spread.

According to the World Health Organization, Mu includes mutations that should be studied for their potential impact on the immune system. According to evidence given to the WHO Virus Evolution Working Group, immunity acquired via prior infection or vaccination may not be as effective against this variant.

A spate of mutations in the Mu variant hint at potential immune-evasion features. Preliminary findings presented to the Virus Evolution Working Group show a reduction in the neutralization capacity of convalescent and vaccination era, similar to what was shown with the Beta variant, but further study is required to confirm this, according to a report published in The Hill.

Presence of Mu Variant

The Mu variant’s global distribution is shrinking, and it currently makes up less than 0.1 percent of all common sequences. It has, however, grown increasingly prevalent in Colombia and Ecuador in recent weeks. WHO will keep a close eye on the epidemiological evolution of this variation, as well as research into its effects.

In a recently published article in Yahoo News, Mu’s prevalence among sequenced COVID-19 cases is less than 0.1 percent globally, but it has “consistently increased” in Colombia and Ecuador, where it now accounts for around 39 percent and 13 percent of infections, respectively. Because of the variant’s low frequency, information on its occurrence should be taken with caution.

It goes without saying that many of the “variants of interest” have been found to have genetic changes that affect viral characteristics including transmissibility, disease severity, and immune escape. Variants of interest differ from “variants of concern,” which have been related to decreased effectiveness of public health initiatives, vaccines, and medications.

Mu Variant is Believed Resistant to Vaccine

Other ‘variants of interest’ include Eta, Iota, Kappa, and Lambda. Lambda, like Mu, was found in Peru, in South America. Iota was found in the United States for the first time in November, and these strains are believed to be more vaccine-resistant, although additional research is needed to back up this assertion.

The WHO has been keeping an eye on the fifth variation of interest since March. The health authorities warned that it has numerous mutations that suggest it may be more vaccine resistant, but that further research is needed to confirm this.

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