WHO monitors new variant of Coronavirus

A new Coronavirus strain, named Mu, has been designated a variant interest by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Mu, or B.1.621, was first identified in Colombia and cases have been recorded in America and Europe.

The WHO’s weekly bulletin on the pandemic said the variant has mutations suggesting it could be more resistant to vaccines, as was the case with Beta, but more studies would be needed to examine this further.

It said: “Since its first identification in Colombia in January 2021, there have been a few sporadic reports cases the Mu variant and some larger outbreaks have been from other countries in America and in Europe.

“Although the global prevalence the Mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1 per cent, the prevalence in Colombia (39 per cent) and Ecuador (13 per cent) has consistently increased.

“The epidemiology the Mu variant in America, particularly with the co-circulation the variant, will be monitored for changes.’’

There were currently four Coronavirus variants concern, as deemed by the WHO, with the Alpha variant first recorded in Kent seen in 193 countries, Beta in 141, Gamma in 91 and in 170 countries, while Mu was the fifth variant interest. (dpa/NAN)