This week the World Health Organisation has discovered a new “variant of interest” of coronavirus and named it “Mu Variant.” This variant has been found in 39 countries and was first seen in Columbia in January 2021.

Mu variant changes, which means it mutates, therefore it is expected that it may evade ‘some’ protection given by the Covid-19 vaccine. But one of the reassuring elements is that it is not as strong as the Delta variant, which has been affecting the whole world. 

Here is all about the new variant of interest:

The scientific name of the variant is B.1.621. It was found in January and was declared a variant of interest in August. As the variant mutates, it may have immunity escape properties. 

After Columbia, the mutant was found in South American countries and European countries. There is no case of this variant in India.

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What is a variant of interest?

After the discovery of the Mu variant, there are five “variants of interest,” which are Eta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda and Mu. 

But what exactly variant of interest is? A variant is termed as a variant of interest if there are changes to the virus that means it looks like it has the potential to do more harm.

A variant of interest is termed as a variant of concern if it becomes more serious and begins to overtake other variants such as the Delta variant. For now, there are four variants of concern – Delta, Alpha, Gamma and Beta. 

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Can this variant escape the properties of vaccine?

Most of the Covid vaccines target the ‘spike protein’ of the virus, which helps it enter our cells. If the variant does not show any change in spike protein then the vaccine would be effective but if the mutations in the variant cause change in the protein then the effectiveness would be decreased.

As there is less information about, therefore, further studies are needed for a better understanding of the variant.

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