what to know about the latest Covid-19 ‘variant of interes

Proper now delta is the Covid-19 variant on everybody’s minds, however there’s a brand new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes Covid-19, that has specialists, together with the World Well being Group, sitting up and taking discover. That new variant known as Mu.

Right here’s what you want to know about it:

  • What’s the Mu variant? Mu is the most up-to-date vital variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Its official pango lineage designation is B.1.621. In accordance to the World Well being Group (WHO), early indicators counsel Mu may be higher at evading vaccines, antibody remedies, and the pure immunity gained from earlier COVID-19 infections. On August 30, WHO named Mu a “variant of curiosity.”
  • How is a “variant of curiosity” totally different than a “variant of concern?” Whereas the SARS-CoV-2 virus mutates all the time, some mutations turn out to be vital as a result of they provide the virus new skills or can influence the human physique in new methods. Who classifies these vital mutations as both “variants of concern” or “variants of curiosity.” Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta are the solely variants of concern, which suggests there’s ample proof the variants are extra harmful than the authentic pressure of SARS-CoV-2. Variants of curiosity, on the different hand – which Mu is – are variants which have the potential to improve hurt, however extra analysis is required to verify this. If elevated hurt is confirmed, a variant of curiosity will turn out to be an official variant of concern.
  • What does WHO say about Mu? In its most recent weekly briefing, WHO states, “The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that point out potential properties of immune escape. Preliminary knowledge introduced to the Virus Evolution Working Group present a discount in neutralization capability of convalescent and vaccinee sera related to that seen for the Beta variant, however this wants to be confirmed by additional research.”
  • The place and when was Mu first detected? The Mu variant was first detected in Columbia in January 2021. It at present makes up 39% of Covid-19 instances in Columbia and 13% of Covid-19 instances in Ecuador.
  • What international locations is Mu in now? Mu is at present in not less than 39 international locations, primarily in South America. Nonetheless, Mu has additionally been detected in the United States, Europe, and Hong Kong.
  • Is Mu resistant to vaccines? Early indicators point out that vaccines could possibly be much less efficient towards Mu than they’re towards the delta variant (which already reduces vaccines’ effectiveness). Nonetheless, there aren’t any indicators but that Mu is totally resistant to vaccines. And any resistance nonetheless wants to be confirmed by way of additional examine.