“Mu” COVID Variant Detected in 49 States

According to estimates, the Mu variant has already been detected in 49 states in America and 42 countries; this comes as health officials keep a close eye on whether this variant will become dominant. 

The mu variant was added to the list of variants of interest by the WHO and is under close monitoring

The “mu” variant, also known as B.1.621, was first detected in Colombia back in January and added to the list of “variants of interest” by the World Health Organization. 

Once a variant of a virus is added to the list of interest, the World Health Organization carries out an analysis of the variant’s characteristics and assesses how it is compared to other variants under observation.

According to the estimates gathered by Outbreak.info, the variant has already been detected in 49 states in the U.S.; the District of Columbia has since identified the variant, with the exception of the state of Nebraska.

Included in the states with higher prevalence includes Hawaii and Alaska; although nationwide, the Mu variant is still not prevalent, as it has been detected in less than 1% of the samples gathered.  California recorded the highest number of samples that have the mu variant, with at least 384 cases detected. 

Fauci claimed the mu variant is not an “immediate threat”

On the other hand, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House, stated on Sunday that delta’s variant is still over 99% of the COVID cases in the country. He noted, however, that the mu COVID variant has mutations that show it could be immune from the protection given by certain antibodies. 

Fauci however claimed that the new variant does not yet pose an immediate threat. As of September 3, health officials at Los Angeles County reported 167 mu cases detected between June to August, with the highest number of cases identified in July. 

LA County Public Health released a statement noting that the Mu variant was found to have mutations that have the potential to escape from antibodies. However, further studies are needed in order to see if the mu variant is more transmissible, more deadly, or is more resistant to the COVID vaccine and treatments. 

Director of LA County Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer noted the identification of mu’s variant (and the spreading of COVID variants in different parts of the world) highlights the need for Los Angeles residents to maintain measures to preserve themselves and others. 

Ferrer noted that the emergence of variants is what makes layering protections and getting vaccinated important. She noted that these actions assist in limiting the proliferation of coronavirus.

Finally, Ferrer claimed that vaccines reduce the chain of transmission which lets the COVID virus mutate into variants that could be more deadly.