It is a “variant of interest.”
The World Health Organisation is monitoring yet another new coronavirus variant.
First identified in Colombia back in January, the variant is known as “Mu” and is now under watch by the WHO.
Scientifically known as B.1.621, the variant is now being classified as a “variant of interest”, the organisation has said in its latest weekly pandemic bulletin.
They also said that this variant has mutations that indicate that it poses a risk as it has more resistance to vaccines, but they stressed that further studies are needed to fully understand this.
“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the bulletin said.
With covid rates increasing across the globe, new variants are becoming a concern especially with the Delta variant being so dominant.
Like any virus, they mutate over time to stay alive and active, and this includes SARS-CoV-2, or Covid-19. Most mutations, however, have little to no effect on the virus’s properties.
While this is the case with most, some can impact this and can make a virus more transmissible, cause it to be more severe or be more resistant to vaccines or medicine.
As of now, there are four variants of Covid-19 that WHO is concerned about, Alpha being one and of course, the vastly transmissible Delta. Along with these, five variants are being monitored which includes this new one, Mu.
It was first discovered in Colombia but has since been detected in other South American countries and in parts of Europe.
While its global prevalence has fallen to below 0.1% among sequenced cases, in Colombia it is at 39%.