The World Health Organization is closely monitoring the new Mu variant, already reported at the beginning of 2021 in South America and now also in Europe. It was first identified in Colombia in January 2021 and since then cases and epidemics have been “sporadically reported” in South America and Europe.
What are the 5 “variants of interest” monitored by the WHO
Alpha (English), present in 193 countries; Beta (South African) reported in 141 countries; Gamma (Brazilian) reported in 91 countries; Delta (Indian), present in 170 countries; Mu (Colombian), present in several countries of South America and Europe.
Variants of interest (YOU)
Have genetic changes predicted or known to affect virus characteristics, such as transmissibility, disease severity, immune leak, diagnostic or therapeutic leak; and capable of causing significant community transmission or multiple Covid outbreaks in multiple countries, with a prevalence and increasing number of cases over time, or other epidemiological effects that suggest an emerging global public health risk.
Variants of Concern (VOC)
Through a comparative assessment, they demonstrate that they are associated with one or more of the following changes with a degree of relevance to global public health: increased transmissibility or harmful change in Covid epidemiology; o increased virulence or change in the clinical presentation of the disease; o decrease in the effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, therapies.
Mu variant, how widespread and where
The global prevalence of the Mu variant is less than 0.1% among sequenced Covid cases, its prevalence has “steadily increased” in Colombia and Ecuador, where it now accounts for approximately 39% and 13% of infections, respectively.
Mu variant and symptoms
Symptoms: currently no symptoms other than the previous variants are reported.
Effectiveness of vaccines
The Mu variant has several mutations that suggest, as the UN agency has warned, it may be more resistant to vaccines.
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