WHO monitoring new coronavirus variant ‘Mu,’ adding it to watchlist

FILE - This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. According to ananalysisby the federal Centers for Disease Control and Preventionpublished Tuesday, April 6, 2021 in JAMA Pediatrics, most children with a serious inflammatory illness linked to the coronavirus had initial COVID-19 infections with no symptoms or only mild ones, new U.S. research shows. (NIAID-RML via AP, File) (Uncredited)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has added a new coronavirus variant called “Mu”— known by scientists as B.1.621 — to its “variant of interest” list, The New York Times reports.

According to the Times, the new variant was added to the organization’s watchlist because of preliminary evidence “Mu” can evade immunity provided by vaccines and antibodies.

WHO listed the “Mu” strain as a variant of interest on Aug. 30.

According to NBC Chicago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a variant is classified as a variant of interest if it shows “specific genetic markers that have been associated with changes to receptor binding, reduced neutralization by antibodies generated against previous infection or vaccination, reduced efficacy of treatments, potential diagnostic impact, or predicted increase in transmissibility or disease severity.”

In a recent report by CNBC, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said the United States was also monitoring the new variant; however, it is not an immediate threat to the nation, according to federal health officials.

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