New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The World Health Organization (WHO) has named a new variant of Coronavirus as 'Mu' and classified it as a variant of interest in its latest pandemic bulletin. Even though the new variant is not reported in India as of now, it has stirred panic in the mind of people. This is because with this new addition, now there are five variants of interest spread in different countries that include Eta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, and Mu. They are more contagious and have a risk of evading vaccine protection.

Here's all you need to know about the 'Mu' variant:

What is the 'Mu' variant?

'Mu' is a new variant of coronavirus which is currently being monitored by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Scientifically this variant is known as B.1.621. It has been classified as the variant of interest in WHO's latest pandemic bulletin. 'Mu' was first detected in Colombia in January and was classified as a variant of interest in August. After Colombia, the new variant was also reported in other South American countries and in Europe. Though it is not widespread across the globe, its presence in Colombia is 39 per cent.

How infectious is the 'Mu' variant?

'Mu' has mutations that indicate a risk of resistance to vaccines, but further studies are needed for better understanding. The variant is said to have immune escape properties as it has a constellation of mutations. "The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape," the WHO bulletin said. This means the new variant has a group of mutations clubbed together which makes it more contagious.

Are vaccines effective against the 'Mu' variant?

The variant of concern (VOC) label received by 'Mu' means that it has genetic changes that are seen as being able to contribute to “transmissibility, disease severity, immune escape, diagnostic or therapeutic escape" from the virus. It also means that that the variant is identified to cause significant community transmission or multiple Covid-19 clusters. This could mean that the variant evades vaccine protection. However, the scientific and medical community widely agrees that any vaccine provides sufficient protection against different variants of the novel coronavirus.

Posted By: Sugandha Jha