The World Health Organization said it was maonitoring a new variant of coronavirus as ‘Mu’ and classified it as a variant of interest in its latest pandemic bulletin. With the addition of Mu, now there are five variants of interest such as Eta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda and Mu.
WHO said in its pandemic bulletin this variant Mu is scientifically known as B.1.621. Mu was first detected in Colombia in January and was classified as a variant of interest in August.
Mu has mutations that indicate a risk of resistance to vaccines, but further studies are needed for better understanding.The variant might have immune escape properties as it has a constellation of mutations.
After Colombia, Mu has been reported in other South American countries and in Europe. Though it is not widespread across the globe, its presence is 39 % in Colombia.
Apart from this variant, which has already been classified by the WHO, another variant C.1.2 has been detected. This has not been classified as either a variant of interest or a variant of concern, but the WHO said that it is monitoring the variant. None of these variants has been detected in India.
These new variants are far from what Delta has become. But the emergence of new strains is of much importance to the scientific fraternity as strains are the virus’s response to vaccines. Hence, chances are there that new variants may neutralise vaccines.
Moderna and Spanish pharmaceutical company Rovi which bottles Moderna shots have said the cause could be a manufacturing issue.moderna also said no safety or efficacy issues had been identified as a result of the issue.