Covid: WHO warns of a new variant that could escape from vaccines

The genetic sequence of the coronavirus (Photo: Divulgation/Adolfo Lutz Institute)

In its weekly epidemiological bulletin, the World Health Organization issued an alert for one of the variants of the novel coronavirus that was initially found in Colombia in January 2021.

The B.1.621 variant has been named Mu and has been classified as a variant of interest, a term used to designate the types of virus that should be monitored by health authorities, with an analysis of public health risks.

“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential immune escape properties. Preliminary data presented to the Working Group on Virus Evolution show a decrease in the neutralizing ability of patients similar to that recorded in the beta variant, but this still needs to be confirmed by further studies” , according to the document.

Since the variant was first recorded, in January of this year, sporadic cases have been reported in Colombia, with reports of contamination in other countries in South America and Europe.

In August, cases were reported from 39 countries. In Colombia and Ecuador, the incidence of the variant increased, reaching, respectively, 39% and 13%. The World Health Organization recommended: “Further studies are needed to understand the clinical features of this variant.”

For comparison, the delta variant is found in 170 countries, beta in 141 and gamma in 91.

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