Europe warns of Mu mutation

The European Medicines Agency said that the Mu strain could be cause for concern, although there is no data to prove it will overwhelm the Delta strain.

During today’s press conference, Marco Cavaleri, director of vaccine strategy for the European Medicines Agency (EMA), said that while it is primarily focusing on the Delta variant, EMA “is also looking at other strains that may have a potential may be as widespread as Lambda, or more recently Mu”.

Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit in a hospital in Saint-Denis, near the French capital Paris, on May 4.  Photo: Reuters.

Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit in a hospital in Saint-Denis, near the French capital Paris, on May 4. Photo: Reuters.

“The Mu strain is potentially more of a concern, as it has a higher risk of carrying immunity,” said Calaveri, adding that the EMA, the agency in charge of drug evaluations for the Union countries. The European Union (EU), will discuss with vaccine developers about the effectiveness of current Covid-19 vaccines against Mu mutation.

“However, I have to say that we don’t have the data yet to show that the Mu variant is spreading to that extent, nor if it has any chance of overtaking Delta to become the dominant strain,” Calaveri said. .

Mu strain, which was first discovered in Colombia in January and has the scientific name B.1.621, earlier this month was classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “mutant of concern”. Other South American countries, along with the US and Europe, have also reported this variation. Delta, meanwhile, has been identified as a “disturbing strain” and has appeared in 170 countries.

All viruses, including nCoV, mutate over time. Most mutations have little or no effect on the properties of the virus. However, some mutations can make the virus more contagious, or worsen the disease it causes, or affect the virus’s ability to resist vaccines.

Luster (Follow AFP)

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