The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that it is closely monitoring the development of the new coronavirus variant, known as Mu.
Through its weekly bulletin published on Tuesday 31st August, the WHO stated that the variant, given the scientific name B.1.621, is now included in the “variant of interest (VOI)” category.
The mutation into a new variant is a risk since it could indicate immunity to the current vaccines. The WHO has also called for further studies to better understand this variant.
“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential immune resistance,” the WHO said in the bulletin.
The WHO explained that the Mu variant was first detected in Colombia then soon after was also reported in other South American countries and parts of Europe.
Referring to data compiled by WHO, the Mu variant was only detected in 0.1 percent of global COVID-19 cases. However, that variant already dominates 39 percent of coronavirus infections in Colombia.
As reported by AFP, experts are indeed worried about the emergence of new variants due to the spike in the rate of coronavirus infections globally.
Concerns are increasing because currently, the Delta variant, which is known to spread more quickly, is dominating global COVID-19 cases. At the same time, various countries have begun to relax their COVID-19 prevention rules.
The WHO noted that all viruses can and will mutate. The mutation may or may not be harmful, depending on its resistance to the vaccine and how quickly it spreads.
Currently, the organisation is monitoring four new COVID-19 variants besides Mu, including Alpha found in 193 countries, and Delta in 170 countries.