In an appearance by Dr. Anthony Fauci as well as a release by the LA County Department of Public Health, it has been revealed that a new B.1.621 Mu variant of COVID-19 was detected in Los Angeles for the first time last week, with 167 known cases being discovered by the Los Angeles.
Recently branded as the “variant of interest” by the World Health Organisation (WHO), this mutant virus was first found in Colombia in January 2021. In the past seven months, its presence has been reported in about 39 countries across the globe.
“These specimens were sequenced between June 19 and August 21, with the majority of Mu specimens sequenced in July,” public health officials said in a statement. There have been 2,000 reported cases of the Mu variant in the United States, according to the Washington Post.
As it stands, the genomic structure of the Mu variant is different from the original strain of the virus. That also means that it can easily evade the protection provided by the COVID-19 vaccines being administered across the globe.
According to the early studies by researchers from Italy, the Mu variant is susceptible to antibodies produced by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. However, they do not work as efficiently as they work on the original strain of the virus. Another early research from the UK suggests that specific mutations may help the Mu variant escape the immune system.
In a video posted by the Washington Post, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “This variant has a constellation of mutations that suggests that it would evade certain antibodies, not only monoclonal antibodies but vaccine and convalescent serum-induced antibodies. We’re keeping a very close eye on it,” he added. “It is really seen here, but it is not at all even close to being dominant.”