Europe rates the Mu variant as ‘disturbing’

Europe rates the Mu variant as worrying - Photo 1.

Mu variant was first discovered in Colombia – Artwork: HEALTH MAGAZINE

On September 9, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) assessed that the Mu variant could be a cause for concern, although so far there is no data to show that this variant can surpass the Delta variant, which is a variant with a high level of infection and is dominating in many countries, according to AFP news agency.

EMA’s head of vaccine strategy, Marco Cavaleri, said EMA is focusing primarily on the Delta variant, but “is also working on other potentially contagious variants such as the Lambda variant detected in Peru and more recently the Mu variant”.

“The Mu variant may be more worrisome due to its high probability of immune avoidance,” explains Marco Cavaleri.

He added that EMA will discuss with COVID-19 vaccine developers the effectiveness of current COVID-19 vaccines against the Mu variant.

Mu variant was first discovered in Colombia in January this year. In early September, Marcela Mercado, a senior Colombian health official, said this variant had caused the third deadly outbreak in Colombia from April to June this year.

During this period, Colombia recorded about 700 deaths a day, and nearly two-thirds of those who died tested positive for the Mu variant.

“This variant has appeared in more than 43 countries and shows a high ability to spread,” said Marcela Mercado.

According to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), as of September 1, the Mu variant has been detected “occasionally” in several European countries such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK.

On August 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified Mu as a “variant of concern”, with the scientific name B.1.621. The WHO says the Mu variant may be resistant to the COVID-19 vaccine, so further studies are needed to understand this variant.

All viruses, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, are constantly changing over time, and most mutations have little or no effect on the properties of the virus.

However, some mutations can affect infectivity, disease severity, or resistance to vaccines and medications.

Currently, WHO classifies four variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as “worrisome”. Including the Alpha variant appearing in 193 countries/regions and the Delta variant in 170 countries/regions.

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