Reports indicate the variant was first detected in Colombia in early 2021 and has currently spread to 39 countries including the United States.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the coronavirus variant “mu” or “B.1.621” coronavirus as a “variant of interest” that will be monitored as it continues to emerge across parts of the world.
According to The Washington Post, the variant was first detected in Colombia in early 2021 and has currently spread to 39 countries including the United States, where 2000 cases have been detected based on data released by Sharing All Influenza Data. Most US cases are in Florida, Texas, California, and New York.
As of now, the delta variant remains dominant in the US.
However, the WHO statement issued this week indicated that the current COVID-19 vaccines may not be as effective against the mu variant.
“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the WHO said in a statement. “But this needs to be confirmed by further studies
Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, explained that the mu variant was able to get around some antibodies induced by the current vaccinations in laboratory studies, but right now there are no clinical data.
The currently available vaccines remain the best protection against COVID-19.
The WHO is advising that more studies be undertaken to characterize the mu variant.