WHO Starts Monitoring New COVID Strain Named ‘Mu’

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Aug. 31 that it is currently monitoring a new COVID-19 strain named “Mu”, which was first identified in Colombia.

WHO said in its weekly COVID-19 publication that the new SARS-CoV-2 variant shows mutations that can make it resistant to vaccines, but said that current findings are yet to be confirmed.

The Mu variant, scientifically named B.1.621, was first identified in Colombia in January 2021.

A few large outbreaks of the Mu strain were found in other South American countries and in Europe.

While cases of the new strain are at 0.1 percent globally, WHO said that cases in Colombia and Ecuador have increased to 39 percent and 13 percent respectively.

WHO stressed that reported cases of the Mu variant should be interpreted in consideration of experts’ current level of understanding of the variant.

“The epidemiology of the Mu variant in South America, particularly with the co-circulation of the Delta variant, will be monitored for changes,” WHO wrote.

WHO is currently monitoring five COVID-19 variants: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Mu.

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