Health Experts closely monitoring newest Covid-19 variant – Mu

Delta Variant still the strongest variant

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – The newest COVID-19 variant, Mu, has now been confirmed by the World Health Organization in all 50 states, and health experts are closely observing its behavior – but so far, studies suggest that it may be less easily transmitted than the dangerous Delta variant, which has triggered a resurgence of the pandemic in the U.S.

“The WHO recently recognized the mu variant as a variant of interest. That’s kind of one step below a variant of concern. An example of a variant concern is delta. Fortunately, around the world, it accounts for 1 of 1,000 cases and in this country, it is about 2 of 10,000 cases. It’s not very common and it’s certainly not out-competing the delta at this point,” says Dr. Jay Sizemore Infectious Disease Physician at Erlanger Hospital.

Although scientists believe that the new variant cannot compete with the Delta variant, experts say adding another dominant variant to the surge could be catastrophic for our health systems.

“RNA viruses mutate very readily. Every time they are being copied millions and millions of times you get a lot of mutations and those mutations are the variants. So, If you have a variant that is more transmissible and as equally consequential as delta, that doesn’t respond to the antibody infusions we will definitely see where we would be out of hospital beds and ICU beds,” says Dr. Carlos Baleerio, Pulmnologist at CHI Memorial.

Though the Mu variant is not an Immediate threat according to Dr. Fauci, experts explain that there are still concerns that Mu could potentially make vaccines and treatments less effective.

“One of the big bonuses with the mRNA vaccine technology is that it lends itself to be readily modifiable so that if we did see a variant that was easier or more readily escaping the current vaccine we could modify the mRNA in the vaccine to potentially respond to an emergent variant like mu quicker,” says Dr. Sizemore. 

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