Delta be damned.
The World Health Organization says it’s monitoring a new coronavirus variant called “Mu,” a strain that first surfaced in Colombia earlier this year.
The variant contains mutations that indicate a risk of resistance to COVID-19 vaccines, health officials determined.
“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the organization announced in its weekly update.
More than 218 million people globally have contracted the coronavirus since March 2020, when officials officially declared a pandemic. Over 4.5 million people have died worldwide, including more than 657,000 in the United States, where the disease has disproportionately attacked African Americans and other communities of color.
Health officials have identified the delta variant — and the lack of those vaccinated — as the primary reason over 100,000 people in the United States are hospitalized – the most significant number since the beginning of the year.
The Department of Health and Human Services said that 30% of intensive care beds in hospitals around the country hold COVID-19 patients, and they point the finger larger at how another coronavirus strain, the highly contagious delta variant, has rapidly spread through the extensive unvaccinated population.
Roughly 52% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, while 62% have received at least one dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Virus rates continue to spike around the globe, and the WHO has determined that the Mu strain could make matters worse.
Mu joins the list of four variants of concerns named by the WHO, alongside the delta, alpha and lambda strains. Each is present in at least 170 countries.
The CDC currently doesn’t list Mu as a variant of interest or concern.
Barrons reported that the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has previously listed Mu as a variant of interest.
The ECDC reported that there is evidence that the mutations in the Mu variant now impact transmissibility and immunity.
“WHO will closely follow the epidemiological evolution of this variant, along with studies on its impact,” the agency said.