The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that it is closely monitoring a new coronavirus “variant of interest” named Mu, warning that the new variant shows signs of possible resistance to vaccines.
Mu – also known by its scientific name as B.1.621 – was first identified in Colombia in January 2021, and since then, there have been “sporadic reports” of cases and some larger outbreaks in South America and Europe, the U.N. health agency said in its weekly bulletin on the pandemic on Tuesday (31).
The cases of the Mu variant have also been reported in the U.K., Europe, the U.S. and Hong Kong.
The new ‘variant of interest’ is being closely monitored, the WHO said.
Although the global prevalence of the Mu variant among sequenced COVID-19 cases is currently below 0.1%, its prevalence in Colombia (39%) and Ecuador (13%) has consistently increased, it said.
The new variant was added to the WHO’s watchlist on August 30 after it was detected in 39 countries and found to possess a “constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” it said.