(Image source from: scientificamerican.com)
The coronavirus is here to stay and there are new variants of coronavirus emerging in various nations. After the second wave of coronavirus calmed down, several countries are badly shattered because of the third wave of Covid-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) has traced one more variant of interest named Mu or B.1.621 during the end of August. The first case of this new variant is detected in Columbia, a country from South America on January 11th this year. More than 30 percent of the new cases reported in Columbia are of the Mu variant. There are no samples of the Mu variant found in India. World Health Organization (WHO) kept a close monitoring on the variant.
As per the WHO, the 'variant of interest' is decided based on the transmissibility, severity, diagnostic or therapeutic escape and the immune escape. Such variants can cause community transmission or various clusters in multiple countries of the globe. A mutation happens when there is an error or any change in the RNA sequence of the virus when it replicates. Mu is defined by nine identified mutations and they are T95I, Y144S, Y145N, R346K, E484K, N501Y, D614G, P681H and D950N. There are several other mutations that define the Mu variant. E484K and N501Y are of special concern as they are associated with the immune system. Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants have both these mutations.
White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci told that Mu is not an immediate threat to the USA. There is not enough clinical data available about the Mu variant for now.
By Siva Kumar