Up to now, Delta is still the most dominant Covid-19 strain in the world today. A strain is considered the most comprehensive, with the ability to infect many times faster than the original strain, and the virulence is also stronger.
But not only Delta, another variant is also causing scientific concern. That is Mu – the “B.1.621” variant, which has now been listed by the World Health Organization as a “strain to watch out for” after seeing an increase in the number of infections in many countries around the world. Mu is the 5th variant on this list, and let’s see what humanity already knows about it.
Where does variation come from?
Mu strain was first detected in Colombia in January 2021. Since then, this mutation has spread to more than 40 countries, including the US, Korea, Japan, Ecuador, Canada and many countries in Europe.
In the US alone, the Mu variant has appeared in 49/50 states, with the exception of Nebraska, where no cases have been detected. The majority of cases of the variant were recorded in California, Florida, Texas and New York.
Mu mutation dangerous? Is the vaccine still effective?
Despite the ability to spread quickly and seem to avoid the vaccine, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci assessed that Mu is not a danger to worry about at this time. He said that although it still needs to be monitored, this variant is unlikely to have an advantage over the Delta strain – which accounts for 99% of the total infections currently in the US.
The US CDC itself has not put the Mu strain on the list of concerns – that is, there is no need to respond immediately.
Regarding the ability of the vaccine to protect against Mu mutation, there is currently no clear information. “Mu has a string of variants with the potential to evade the immune system,” – WHO made a statement on August 31, raising concerns that this strain is resistant to vaccines. “However, this information needs further studies to confirm.”
Dr Fauci also revealed laboratory data showing that the Mu strain can evade certain types of antibodies – including those produced by vaccines. However, he said the data is not enough, and the vaccine is still the most effective way to prevent Covid.
Pfizer is also studying the vaccine resistance of the Mu strain, and the results are expected to be published in the near future. Representatives of other vaccine companies, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca were not immediately available for comment.
Mu strain infects faster?
Paúl Cárdenas, a professor of epidemiology from the University of San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador) studied Mu and found some indications that this variant was “more contagious” than the original strain. “Mu has surpassed Alpha and Gamma strains in most areas in Ecuador and Colombia,” – he said.
However, the professor said there are still no signs to worry about. “Mutations continue to appear. It is important that we classify them to monitor, and come up with timely countermeasures.”
Mu is currently the fifth strain on WHO’s “concerned” list, but has not been classified as “worrisome” – the list of which the Delta strain is dominant in the world.
Source: Washington Post