What is Mu variant of COVID-19? Know symptoms and other details

Mu variant, also known as lineage B.1.621, is the fifth “variant of interest” that is being monitored by WHO since March 2020. Health experts have warned that the Mu variant COVID-19 could be even more transmissible than the delta variant and may be more resistant to the vaccines.

Created On: Sep 8, 2021 18:48 ISTModified On: Sep 8, 2021 18:49 IST

Mu variant of Covid 19 was first detected in Colombia in January 2021 and was designed as a variant of interest by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on August 30, 2021. WHO said that it is closely monitoring the new variant of COVID-19. 

Health experts have warned that the Mu variant COVID-19 could be even more transmissible than the delta variant and may be more resistant to the vaccines but more research will be required to confirm this. 

What is Mu Variant?

Mu variant, also known as lineage B.1.621 or VUI-21JUL-1, is one of the variants of SARS-CoV-2. It is the fifth “variant of interest” that is being monitored by WHO since March 2020.

Mu variant countries

Mu variant cases have been “sporadically reported” in almost 42 countries around the world including in South America, Europe and 49 US states with Nebraska being the only state to not have a mu variant case detected.

California has reported the highest number of Mu Variant cases in the United States with a total of 167 cases detected in Los Angeles County.

In Europe, Mu variant has been detected in several countries including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Mu Variant: Variant of Interest

The Mu Variant of COVID-19 was declared as a variant of interest by the World Health Organisation on August 30 due to its ability to be more transmissible than any of the other strains of COVID-19. 

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) had already classified Mu Variant as a variant of interest on August 26. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US is yet to make similar classifications about the variant. 

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, health officials are maintaining a “close eye” on the mu variant despite it being “not at all even close” to becoming the dominant COVID-19 strain in the U.S.

So far, only 1 percent of Covid samples across the US have been detected position for the Mu variant of COVID-19, while the Delta variant represents 99 percent of the cases.

Globally, the prevalence of the Mu variant is less than 0.1% among sequenced COVID-19 cases but it has “steadily increased” in Colombia and Ecuador, where it now accounts for about 39% and 13% of infections respectively.

Mu Variant symptoms

The symptoms of Mu variant follow the same pattern as those of other variants of COVID-19 such as sore throat, fever, cough, headache. loss of taste and smell and runny nose. It is still too early to detect any specific symptom of the variant. 

Will vaccines protect against Mu variant?

It is still not clear how effective vaccines are against the Mu Variant. The variant could potentially have resistance against vaccines, as per health experts but it is not confirmed. 

According to WHO, Mu variant has a constellation of mutations, which indicates its potential property of immune escape, which means it may be able to evade immunity provided by vaccines. 

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