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Health News of Sunday, 12 September 2021


New Coronavirus variant 'Mu' emerges - Here are the details

WHO is investigating the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant, Mu WHO is investigating the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant, Mu

Even as the world is gradually coming to grips with having to adjust to living with the deadly pandemic wreaking havoc across nations, it appears the worse isn’t over yet.

As if the discovery of the delta variant, an equally lethal strain that has virtually hit countries grappling with the viral disease was enough, there is a new one on the horizon.

According to a Huffington Post report, the ‘Mu’ variant also known as B.1.621 is increasing bit by bit in certain parts of the world, piquing the interest of scientists.

With over a 40million cases of the Coronavirus recorded so far, the discovery of another variant is definitely set to bring uncomfortable stirs within the medical fraternity.

The report also notes that in the United States, for example, the ‘Mu’ variant has been recorded in 49 states.

GhanaWeb brings you details to note about the new ‘Mu’ Coronavirus variant as reported by Huffington Post:

Place of discovery, areas of infection

Huffington Post reports that ‘Mu’ was first recorded in Columbia in January 2021, and has since infected persons in 39 countries.

The World Health Organization however flagged it as a “variant of interest” about a week ago.

Measuring its rate of spread from a global perspective, the WHO regards it as relatively rare.

The report furthers that although the prevalence of the new variant is rising sharply in some countries, it makes up 0.1percent of Coronavirus cases recorded so far in the world.

“Mu makes up 39% of cases that have been subject to genomic sequencing in Colombia and 13% in Ecuador.”

About 2,400 cases have been recorded in the US but health officials in Los Angeles note that the variant seems to be clustered in certain areas.

Why WHO considers ‘Mu’ a variant of interest

Among other things the World Health Organisation flags a new strain on its radar if it exhibits the following features:

- How transmissible the variant is

- Ability of the variant to cause severe disease or death

- Fast community spread or specific cluster

Although the WHO admits the ‘Mu’ variant has not reached the level where it can be categorised as a “variant of concern” like delta, it is nonetheless keeping close tabs on it, due to its increasing spate of infections in countries such as Colombia.

In the US, health experts from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not sounded the alarm either citing that it is not of “immediate threat right now.”

Comparing Delta and Mu variant

Per the Huffington Post report, the Delta variant continues to be the most dominating strain, recording about 99 percent of infections in the US.

As far as the CDC is concerned, the Mu does not stack up as compared to the Delta variant which is two times more contagious than any of the preceding variants.

Does ‘Mu’ infect vaccinated people?

The chance of infection of the Mu variant to persons who have been vaccinated is 1 in 5000, according to a recent New York Times report.

US infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci maintains data that suggests Mu might pose a threat to vaccine efficacy is “mostly laboratory, in vitro data.”

Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have so far been effective at holding up against all of the various variants health officials are tracking.

So, in Ghana, for example, persons who took jabs of the AstraZeneca are not yet out of the woods as far as the “Mu” variant is concerned.

For now, observing the health protocols being advised by health personnel seems to be the best mode of prevention against any COVID-19 variant.

You can also watch this video of what happens at the Korle Bu emergency ward: