The World Health Organization (WHO) has just extended its list of monitoring coronavirus variants.
It is known as the mu variant, and it was labeled as a variant of interest.
That means that it presents some genetic differences to other variants, provoking infections in various countries, which means that it has the potential of becoming a significant threat to public health.
There is a slight chance that the genetic changes of mu could make the variant more transmissible, which, in return, would make it prone to provoke more severe cases of disease and make it more likely to avoid immune responses provoked by vaccines or infectious with past variants.
Unfortunately for us, that trait could make it less prone to be affected by treatments.
However, you should keep in mind that a VOI(Variant Of Interest) isn’t the same as a VOC(Variant Of Concern), which is a variant that has been proven to manifest the previously mentioned traits.
Mu is kept under careful tracking so that the experts can decide if it must be re-designated as a VOC. We hope that it won’t be necessary, as that would make it even harder for health workers to fight against the disease, with a new variant to take care of.
At the moment, there are four other VOIs kept under close surveillance by the WHO – eta, iota, kappa, and lambda.
However, for the time being, neither of the four was labeled as a VOC.
That could possibly be the case with mu, too, but for the moment, we will have to remain patient and let time do its job.
Mu is particularly special due to a so-called “constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape.”
To put it simply, Mu is so “interesting” because of it possibly being able to skip vaccine protection and go on a viral rampage.