The World Health Organization (WHO) has one new coronavirus strain an interesting variant.
The strain B.1.621, first identified in Colombia earlier this year, is the fifth Covid-19 load to be monitored, which has so far been found in 39 countries.
According to the latest government figures, there have been at least 32 confirmed cases of the mu variant so far, with scientists speculating that, like the beta variant, it may be more resistant to vaccines.
But what did the WHO say about the new Mu variant and how many coronaviruses Varieties of interest are currently in circulation?
What did the WHO say about the mu variant?
Since it was first detected in Colombia, cases of the new mu variant have been recorded across Europe and South America.
According to the WHO’s weekly bulletin on the pandemic, the mu variant – like the beta strain – “has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” which means it may be more resistant to vaccines.
The health authority added that it needed to do more studies to investigate this further.
It stated: “Since it was first identified in Colombia in January 2021, there have been few sporadic reports of cases of the Mu variant, and some major outbreaks have been reported from other countries in South America and Europe.
“Although the worldwide prevalence of the Mu variant in sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1 percent, the prevalence in Colombia (39 percent) and Ecuador (13 percent) has risen continuously.
“The epidemiology of the mu variant in South America, particularly with the common distribution of the delta variant, is monitored for changes.”
What other coronavirus variants are of interest?
If the WHO marks a strain of Covid as an interesting variant, it means that it considers it significant enough to warrant special monitoring.
The WHO watchlist currently contains four worrying coronavirus variants.
Originating from Kent, the Alpha variant has spread to 193 countries, while Beta has been seen in 141, Gamma in 91 and delta in 170 different countries.
The new Mu variant joins Eta, Iota, Kappa and Lambda as an interesting variant.