Covid: WHO warns of new variant with potential to escape vaccines

Coronavirus genetic sequencing (Photo: Divulgação/Adolfo Lutz Institute)Coronavirus genetic sequencing (Photo: Divulgação/Adolfo Lutz Institute)

In its weekly epidemiological bulletin, the World Health Organization issued an alert for one of the variants of the new coronavirus found initially in Colombia in January 2021.

Variant B.1.621 was named Mu and classified as a variant of interest, a term used to designate types of the virus that must be monitored by health authorities, with analysis of public health risk.

“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential immune escape properties. Preliminary data presented to the Working Group on Virus Evolution show a reduction in the neutralization capacity of patients similar to that registered in the Beta variant, but this still needs to be confirmed by further studies”, says the document.

Since the first registration of the variant, in January this year, sporadic cases have been reported in Colombia, with reports of contamination in other countries in South America and Europe.

In August, cases were reported from 39 countries. In Colombia and Ecuador, the incidence of the variant increased, reaching, respectively, 39% and 13%. “Further studies are needed to understand the clinical features of this variant,” recommended the WHO.

By way of comparison, the Delta variant is in 170 countries, the Beta in 141 and the Gamma in 91.