Fauci: We’re Keeping a Close Eye on New “Mu” COVID Variant

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the White House, stated that the new COVID-19 variant called “Mu” is not posing a high risk to Americans at the moment. At a press briefing, the chief medical adviser noted that they are paying close attention to the new variant.

He added that they are taking everything seriously. However, at present, the “Mu” variant is not an immediate threat.  On Monday, Mu (also known as B.1.621 by scientists) was added to the list of WHO’s variants of “interest”, according to the statement published on its weekly COVID epidemiology report. 


The New “Mu” variant have traces of mutations that could evade antibodies and vaccines

According to Fauci, this new variant has traces of mutations which shows that it would avoid certain antibodies. It could also escape from monoclonal antibodies, as well as vaccines and convalescent serum-induced antibodies. 

He added that there is not much clinical data which could suggest this information. Most of the data is laboratory in-vitro. However, even though the coronavirus vaccines were made with the original variant in mind, the vaccines are still highly effective against the Delta variant.

Fauci noted that when there are virus variants that somehow diminish the efficacy of the vaccines against it, the vaccines are still effective against these variants. 

Previously, the Delta was a mere variant of interest. However, in early May, the WHO reclassified it after introductory studies found that the variant could spread faster and more easily than the other strain of COVID-19.

Now, the Delta variant has been the cause for a large number of COVID-19 outbreaks all over the world, including the United States. 

Fauci noted that it would not be surprising if three COVID shots will be the new standard to be “fully vaccinated”

Fauci stated that in the United States, the Delta variant of COVID-19 still is the dominant variant. It covers more than 99% of the new COVID-cases in the country. He added that the newly found Mu variant is not even close to being dominant.

The Mu variant was first classified in Columbia. However, according to the WHO, it has been confirmed in at least 39 countries. The agency likewise warned that although the prevalence of the Mu variant is below 0.1%, it has consistently increased.

Meanwhile, the White House chief medical adviser emphasized that they are paying close attention to this new variant. Fauci also noted that he would not be surprised if three COVID-vaccine shots will be the new standard for people to be considered “fully vaccinated.”

The United States is expected to roll out COVID vaccine booster shots at the end of September, after reviews by the federal health agencies. According to data given by Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza, there are around 2,000 Mu cases that have been classified in the U.S. so far.