The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it is tracking a new COVID-19 variant called Mu. The organization warned that it could be more resistant to the current vaccines that we have. The scientific name of this variant is B.1.621 and has become a prevalent variant in Colombia and Ecuador.
The first time it was identified was in January this year in Colombia. Since its identification, there have been reports of cases and outbreaks in South America and Europe. The U.N. health agency said that although the global prevalence among COVID-10 cases of this variant is below 0.1 percent, they have seen a consistent increase in the two countries mentioned above.
Now, the variant is responsible for 39 percent of COVID-19 cases in Colombia and 13 percent of the cases in Ecuador, Forbes reported.
For Mu’s resistance to COVID-19 vaccines, the WHO said that they need to do further research to confirm this. Preliminary data, however, showed that there is reduced effectiveness of the vaccines regarding the cases caused by the Mu variant. The health agency likened the Mu variant to the Beta variant. It is analyzing 3,857 samples of the COVID-19 cases that came from the Mu variant. Of this sample, 1,544 have been reported in the United States, 844 were from Colombia, 352 from Mexico, and 351 from Spain.
Because all viruses mutate over time, WHO keeps track of such variants of interest. For the COVID-19 virus, the WHO is monitoring a total of five variants of interest since March. These variants of interest are different from variants of concern. The current variants of concern are the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta mutations.