In its weekly epidemiological update, released Tuesday, the WHO warned that the variant is becoming more common in Colombia and Ecuador.
Mu was first identified in Colombia in January 2021, and since then there have been occasional reports of cases and epidemics in South America and Europe, the WHO said.
Although the global prevalence of Mu among sequenced COVID-19 cases is less than 0.1 percent, its prevalence has “steadily increased” in Colombia and Ecuador, where it is now responsible for about 39 percent and 13 percent of infections, respectively.
Reports of variant prevalence should be “properly interpreted,” given the low sequencing capacity in most countries, the agency said.
Mu is the Fifth Interesting Variant that the WHO will follow after March.
It has several mutations that suggest it could be more resistant to vaccines, the health agency warned, but stressed that more research is needed to confirm this.
Preliminary data show that the effectiveness of the vaccines is reduced “similar to that of the beta variant”. The WHO said it was following “the epidemiology of the Mu variant in South America, especially in the concomitant use of the Delta variant … due to changes.”
As of August 29, more than 4,500 sequences (3794 B.1.621 sequences and 856 B.1.621.1 sequences), genomic sequences, virus samples taken from patients, have been designated Mu during the last four weeks. The sequences are used to monitor how it moves through a population, in an open source genome repository known as GISAID.
Although this figure is affected by both sequencing capacity, surveillance, and the total number of cases in the area.
Source: The Nordic Page