The World Health Organization (WHO) has included another CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus or COVID-19 variant on its list of “variants of interest,” with changes that could render it vaccine-resistant.
After being discovered in 39 countries and found to have a cluster of alterations that may enable it less sensitive to the immune protection many have obtained, the Mu variant, also known as B.1.621, was placed on the WHO’s list on August 30.
“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” according to the WHO’s weekly bulletin on the pandemic.
Early data indicates the Mu variant may bypass immune defenses similarly to the Beta form found in South Africa, but more research is needed to verify this.
According to the Guardian, isolated infections and more significant outbreaks have been reported worldwide since the Mu variant first appeared in Colombia in January 2021.
Infections have been documented in the UK, Europe, the United States, Hong Kong, and South America.
“Although the global prevalence of the Mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1%, the prevalence in Colombia (39%) and Ecuador (13%) has consistently increased,” the WHO reported according to the New York Post. It added that the surge could be due to more genetic sequencing.
Learning whether the Mu version is more contagious or causes more severe illnesses than the Delta version, which is prevalent throughout much of the world, caught much attention from scientists and public health officials.
In the United Kingdom, at least 32 instances of the Mu variety have been discovered, with the infection pattern indicating that it was carried in by different travelers.
The majority were discovered in London among people in their 20s, according to a report released by Public Health England (PHE) in July. In addition, one or two doses of the CCP Virus vaccination had been given to some individuals who tested positive for Mu.
In July, PHE added the Mu variant to its list of variants under research. The Mu variant is known as VUI-21JUL-01, indicating the variant will be observed to see how it performs.
It hasn’t sparked as much concern as Alpha and Delta, which are more dangerous due to their enhanced disease transmission. However, the Mu variant causes fears regarding immune defense evasion.
The severity of the risk posed by the variant is unknown, and it will rely on whether cases increase significantly in the coming weeks and months, especially in the context of the fast-spreading Delta variant.