LivingWhat is the 'Mu' variant?

What is the 'Mu' variant?

The mutations of the coronavirus do not give up. Now, the Mu variant, also known as B.1.621 , has been added to the World Health Organization (WHO) watchlist of “variants of interest”.

The Mu variant has already been detected in 39 countries and it is known that it has a group of mutations that can make it less susceptible to the immunological protection obtained thanks to the vaccines against COVID-19, that is, it manages to “escape” the effect of the vaccines.

The strain was detected for the first time in January in Colombia and currently represents almost half of the infections in this country. Since then, almost 4,000 cases have been detected and it has spread to more than 40 countries.

Its mutations suggest that it may be more resistant to vaccines, as was the case with the South African ‘Beta’ variant. It is also feared that it is more contagious.

“Since its first identification in Colombia in January 2021, there have been some sporadic reports of cases of the Mu variant and some larger outbreaks have been reported in other countries in South America and Europe. Although the global prevalence of the Mu variant among sequenced cases has decreased and is currently below 0.1%, the prevalence in Colombia (39%) and Ecuador (13%) has constantly increased ”, explains the WHO.


Variants of interest of COVID-19

The WHO currently lists four Covid variants of interest: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and highly transmissible Delta. Mu is the fifth and is being tracked along with Eta, Iota, Kappa, and Lambda.

Most mutations are harmless, but the ones that allow the virus to spread faster or survive longer within the human body are the ones that are likely to stick around.

To date, more than 300 variants of this coronavirus have been detected.

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