COVID variant ‘mu’ detected in 49 states, including Ohio

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW/NEXSTAR) — Recently added to the World Health Organization’s list of coronavirus variants of interest, the B.1.621, or mu variant, has been detected in 49 states, including Ohio.

That’s according to a report from FOX News, who cites estimates compiled by Outbreak.info.

Nebraska is reportedly the only state where the mu variant has not yet been detected.

It was first identified in Colombia in January 2021, but wasn’t officially labeled as a variant of interest (VOI) until Aug. 30, according to the Weekly Epidemiological Update published last week.

“The mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the organization wrote, noting that vaccinated individuals appear to show a “reduction in neutralization capacity” against mu.

As of Tuesday, WHO indicated there were only “some” reports of larger outbreaks of mu, specifically in South America and Europe, along with “a few sporadic reports of cases.”

And it’s even more sporadic in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health, who tells FOX 8 the variant has been detected in the Buckeye State in very low proportionality.

WHO said further studies are needed to determine the characteristics of the mu variant. Other VOI being monitored by WHO include eta, iota, kappa and lambda.

A similar list is the variants of concern, or VOC, which include the alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants. These variants meet the criteria for a VOI, but is associated with either an increase in virulence, a decrease in effectiveness of public health measures, or a “detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology,” as well as other factors.

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