WHO says it’s monitoring new variant of covid called ‘mu’

WHO says it's monitoring new variant of covid called 'mu'

World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a bilateral meeting with Swiss Home and Health Minister Alain Berset on the sidelines of the opening of the 74th World Health Assembly at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2021.

Laurent Gillieron | Reuters

The World Health Organization is monitoring a new variant of the coronavirus called “mu,” which the agency says has mutations that allow immunity provided by a previous COVID-19 infection or vaccination to be evaded.

Mu – also known to scientists as B.1.621 – was added to the WHO’s list of “interest” variants on August 30, the International Health Organization announced in its weekly epidemiological report. COVID released Tuesday evening. noted.

The WHO has said that because the variant contains genetic mutations that indicate natural immunity, current vaccines or monoclonal antibody treatments may not work against the new strain as they do against the original ancestral virus. The Mu strain needs further study to confirm whether it will prove to be more infectious, more deadly, or more resistant to current vaccines and treatments.

In its Tuesday report, the WHO wrote that Mu has a cluster of mutations that indicate potential immunodeficiency properties.

“Preliminary data presented to the Virus Evolution Working Group shows a reduction in the neutralizing capacity of convalescent sera and vaccine similar to that seen for the beta, but this needs to be confirmed by further studies.” , he added.

The agency monitors four “types of anxiety,” including Delta, which was first detected in India and is currently the most common form in the United States; Alpha, which was first discovered in the UK; beta, first found in South Africa, and the gamma variant, first found in Brazil. They are generally defined as a mutated strain that is either more infectious, more lethal, or more resistant to current vaccines and treatments.

It is also closely monitoring five so-called forms of interest – including the lambda variant, which was first identified in Peru – which have caused epidemics in several countries and have genetic changes that make them more vulnerable than d ‘other strains. can make it dangerous.

The delta was interesting until the WHO reclassified it in early May, after preliminary studies found it could spread more easily than other versions of the virus. This version has since been blamed for several major outbreaks around the world, including the United States.

According to the WHO, the new variant was first identified in Colombia, but has been confirmed in at least 39 countries. Although the global prevalence of the variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1%, its prevalence in Colombia and Ecuador continues to rise, the agency warned.

The WHO said more studies are needed to understand the clinical features of the new variant.

“The epidemiology of the mu variant in South America, particularly with the co-circulation of the delta variant, will be monitored for changes,” the agency said.

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