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Mu Is a 'Variant of Interest.' Here's Everything We Know About It

Cases of the Mu Variant have been detected in Europe, America, and South Korea. 
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A COVID-19 variant known as “mu” has caught the attention of the World Health Organization, which has designated it as a “variant of interest.” The WHO is currently monitoring its spread around the world. 

Is there mu variant in the Philippines?

According to the Department of Health, there are no recorded cases of the mu variant in the Philippines as of this writing. It was first detected in Colombia in January 2021, and has since spread to at least 40 countries. 

Some of the affected countries are Japan, South Korea, the United States, Canada, Ecuador, and a number of European countries. 

Despite its spread, the mu variant is still classified as a “variant of interest.” Variants are categorized as “variants of interest,” “variants of concern” and “variants of high consequence.”

The Philippines has detected tens of thousands of COVID-19 variants of concern, such as the alpha, beta, gamma, and delta, of which the latter is the country’s dominant variant, according to the DOH.

The WHO has not identified any COVID-19 variant as a variant of high consequence. 

How do vaccines fare against the mu variant?

As of this writing, how various vaccines fare against the mu variant has yet to be determined 

“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the WHO said in a statement. Although this could mean it has vaccine-resistant properties, further studies are needed to confirm it. 

A variant of interest such as the mu variant will only be classified as a variant of concern if it exhibits increased transmissibility, increased virulence, or decrease in effectiveness of vaccines and medical treatments.

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How serious is the mu variant compared to the delta variant?

Mu is the fifth variant of interest identified by the WHO. Compared with the delta variant, the mu variant has not been elevated into a variant of concern because whether it is more transmissible and virulent than the alpha, beta, gamma, and delta variants is still being verified. 

In a report by CNN, health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said initial studies show the mu variant is highly transmissible and may lead to more severe COVID-19 infections because of its potential properties of immune escape, but conceded that more studies must be conducted to establish its severity. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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