Mu variant is now among the main interests of health authorities all over the globe. Mu is the new COVID-19 mutation and is the latest variant discovered from the coronavirus. Among the theorized concept is that the mu variant's mutation can escape from vaccine-induced immunity.
Mu Variant: Known Mutation and Characteristics
The new COVID-19 variant is initially tagged as B.1.621 by the experts. The first known appearance of the new variant is on January 2021. Based on the recent statement released by the World Health Organization in their COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, the existence of the variant was detected first at the Republic of Colombia. Just until recently, the health agency considered the latest variant to fall among the 'variants of interest' category and named the new version 'mu.'
The variants of interest or the VOI tag applied to the new COVID-19 version suggest that mu was observed thoroughly and has stronger abilities than its predecessors. A new version of the coronavirus tagged with VOI may have mutated in a stronger manner than its previous forms. Live Science reported that a new VOI could mean that the coronavirus has enhanced its characteristics, including a higher transmissibility rate, disease severity, and other intensified viral features.
VOI turns to VOC or variants of concern if it comes to a time when the coronavirus is indeed proven to be transmissible through comprehensive data gathered from a reliable study. This is also the case in the previous COVID-19 delta variant, where the coronavirus acquired worrisome abilities that could trespass immunity provided by the vaccines.
According to WHO's epidemiological report, the mu variant has undergone a lot of mutation that could have heightened its potential to escape immunity. The mu variant has been observed and examined in laboratories, and its reaction with the formulated COVID-19 vaccines is available for public use.
Mu Variant Cases Still Under 0.1 Percent Globally, WHO Says
Based on the findings, the protection of antibodies provided by the vaccines, which were proven effective against the previous variants, had difficulty neutralizing the mu variant. However, the health agency said that the alarming properties of the new variant would be examined further to gather accurate and polished information.
The mu variant has a mutation comparable to a previous version of COVID-19 that is tagged as VOC called the beta variant. According to a recent MedPage Today report, the confirmed mutations shared by the two variants are the E484K and the K417N.
The COVID-19 mu variant has been recorded to be active in 39 countries. Among the regions that were confirmed to have the latest variants are the European countries and the majority of South America. In the United States, the mu variant was already spreading gradually. The University of Miami reported that the Jackson Memorial Health System was already incurred with mu variant in almost 10 percent of the COVID-19 cases recorded.
The mu variant was not yet prevalent in many countries. According to the WHO report, the mu variant cases around the globe are still under 0.1 percent. However, this count is still great considering the heavily affected population in Colombia and Ecuador, each having 39 and 13 percent sequenced genomes, respectively.
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