The more the SARS-CoV-2 virus reproduces itself, causing the Covid-19, the more likely it is that new variants will appear.
This has been the case of the Mu variant, cataloged last August 30th by WHO as a variant of concern.
This means that there’s no need to "cry wolf", but to keep it under attention, because the variants of interest are those that affect characteristics of the virus such as transmissibility, severity of the disease, immunological escape, diagnostic or therapeutic escape, as well as other implications that could mean "an emerging risk to global public health," according to WHO.
Although the Mu variant, whose name corresponds to the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet, is not a variant of concern –even more dangerous-, it’s distinguished by a “group of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape”. Which means that it could fool the immune protection offered by coronavirus vaccines.
It was reported for the first time in Colombia, last January, when it was named B.1621. At present, it has spread to about forty countries and only 0.1% of infections worldwide are due to it.
Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Venezuela, Costa Rica and also the U.K., the United States, and Belgium are some of the countries that report the presence of this variant.
Its transmission in the Americas has so far remained sporadic and without severe impacts, according to Jairo Méndez, advisor on emerging viral diseases at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), on September 1st.
In Cuba, according to WHO data, only the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants have been detected.
As Mu is the first variant WHO adds to its list since June, there are still no conclusive studies about its behavior and it’s difficult to predict whether it will be more contagious or more resistant to vaccines.
So far, the Delta variant has a regrettable head start, leaving in its wake many infections, deaths, and pain. Let's hope the Mu variant doesn’t gain momentum in that deadly race.
Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff