Mu variant is the new addition to the mutated COVID-19 virus. Besides Mu, there are other variants named Eta, Iota, Kappa and Lambda. Experts say the Mu variant suggests properties of immune escape. Given below are all the information you need on Mu variant.
Mu variant-What is it?
According to the WHO ,this was detected first in Columbia in the month of January 2021. It is scientifically expressed as B.1.621. Mu variant has also been said to be found in Europe, Hong Kong, US and South American countries.
The worldwide prevalence of Mu is less than 0.1% and in Colombia and Ecuador this is constantly increasing. There, it has reached to the point where 39% of the infections are due to this.
Mu variant -what is known so far?
- WHO stated that it has declined worldwide , however , still prevalent in Columbia (39%)
- Show properties of immune escape – has a constellation of mutations
- Who also has published that Mu variant shows resistance to vaccines.
Reason why new variants are concerning?
The infection rate is spiking up once again. Particularly among the unvaccinated people & in areas with reduced virus control measures – are affected by Delta variant which is very infective.
Viruses mutate and this includes SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19. But these mutations have no / slight effect on the virus’s properties. Few mutations influence the virus’s properties. This results in resistance to vaccines, how fast it is transmitted, the intensity of the disease and treatment.
C.1.2 COVID-19 Variant – what is it?
There’s yet another new strain, the C.1.2 COVID-19 variant. CNN stated that from May 2021, 100 cases have been reported. This is seen in South Africa & in several other countries in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. This variant has mutated considerably on regard with C.1. But it is many mutations away from the original virus detected in Wuhan.
Scientists discovered that it was descended from C.1. This was detected in January. More research is needed to know more.
C.1.2 has been found in England, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland.
C.1.2 variant, is it concerning?
Scientists are closely monitoring the development of C.1.2 variant in South Africa. “This it is not spreading”, said the spokesperson of WHO. However WHO reports that it is not a variant of concern yet.
Should you be worried about the Mu variant?
This variant isn’t found globally like other ones that are listed as “of interest.”
Variants of interest is defined WHO as those that,
1.Have genetic changes that affect certain virus characteristics (disease severity, immune & diagnostic escape, and transmission) and
2.Cause community transmission / multiple COVID-19 clusters, in many countries with increasing cases , epidemiological impacts hinting risk to global public health
This variant shows properties of immune escape & has a constellation of mutations. At present this is not a variant of interest/concern(CDC)
Amesh A. Adalja, MD, infectious disease expert said in an interview that there is no need to panic. He also added that new variants are continuously rising. This variant may not be more harmful than the Delta variant.
How to protect yourself from the Mu variant?
We can protect ourselves from Mu variant. This is possible, by following the basic guidelines, said the experts. This includes vaccination, washing hands often, wearing mask in indoor areas with of COVID-19 spread, staying home.
Is Mu variant vaccine resistant ?
The World Health Organization is observing this variant. This variant indicates vaccine resistance.
The WHO said , “Epidemiology of the Mu in South America, with the co-circulation of the Delta variant, will be monitored for changes.”
WHO stated that the prevalence must be considered as they vary between countries. Genome sequences, analyzed samples of the virus taken from patients (Mu). This was taken in the last 4 months. The sequences are used to track how it moves through the population.
More research is needed to understand the phenotypic and clinical characteristics of this variant .
Mu variant is considered as a VOI (variant of interest) by WHO. Because mutations like E484K and K417N hint immune defense resistance. This was seen in the Beta variant found in South Africa.
The mutation P681H, is concerning as it has the possibility to be as infectious as the Alpha variant.
Does India have cases of Mu variant?
A new variant C.1.2 is not classified if it is concerning or not by the WHO. Monitoring this variant is going on. Mu & C.1.2 variant have not been found in India. Mu variant cases are reported occasionally & outbreaks in Europe and South America. An official of INSACOG reported that there are no ases of this variant. They are keenly looking out for it in the new COVID-19 cases.
More research is needed to know if this variant has vaccine resistance & its capabilities. Mu & C.1.2 variant are not concerning right now. But let us get vaccinated, double mask & follow necessary precautions.