Last minute … They put the final point for the Mu variant!

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Last month, seven fully vaccinated elderly people died from Kovid-19 in a retirement home in Belgium. They were all infected with a variant of the coronavirus now known as Mu. This outbreak has raised the question of whether Mu poses a greater threat than other variants, including Delta.

However, there is still no evidence that this is the case. According to information from Business Insider, although the Mu variant has mutations to overcome the protection provided by vaccines, it has become less common than other variants over time.

One would expect variants with a greater advantage over Delta to be more common in the fast cases. However, all the evidence indicates that Mu will not be dominant.

Globally, Mu peaked in mid-July, when it accounted for 0.6% of new coronavirus infections. It now represents only 0.1% of new infections in the world, according to data from GISAID, a database that collects the genomes of coronaviruses.

IS IT SPREADING, BUT STILL VERY RARE

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Of the 48 countries where Mu infection was recorded this year, only 10 Mu cases were detected last month. It is most common in Colombia, where the world’s first Mu cases were recorded in January. According to GISAID, Mu accounts for almost all of the new coronavirus infections detected in the country last month.

Mu cases have also been recorded in the past four weeks in the United States, Mexico and a few European countries like Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.

But just because a variant is geographically dispersed does not mean it is widely distributed around the world. In the United States, for example, Mu is detected in almost every state, but accounts for less than 0.2% of new coronavirus infections recorded last month.

“We are following the case very closely,” President Joe Biden’s senior medical adviser, Dr. “We don’t see this as an immediate threat at the moment,” said in a briefing last week. added Anthony Fauci.

MU DOES NOT LOOK AS CONTAGIOUS AS DELTA

The World Health Organization called Mu a “variant to watch out for” in late August. This term applies to variants exhibiting genetic modifications which may result in significant community transmission or modify the behavior of the virus. The Mu variant worries the WHO because it has spread rapidly in South America since May.

Since then, however, the prevalence of Mu in South America has declined. At its peak in mid-July, the variant accounted for around 5% of new coronavirus infections in South America. Today it represents around 3%.

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In a study still awaiting peer review, Colombian researchers predicted that Mu was 1.2 times more contagious than the original version of the virus. This indicates that Delta is more beneficial than the original strain, which is twice as contagious. Yet scientists continue to monitor Mu closely because of its potential to resist the body’s immune defenses.

BIGGEST FEAR: VACCINE RESISTANCE!

Scientists are more concerned about Mu’s resistance to vaccine protection. Maria van Kerkhove, WHO COVID-19 technical manager, told The Associated Press that the variant “interests us because of the combination of mutations it has.”

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Mu carries several key mutations in its genetic code for the spike protein (and the crown-shaped projections on its surface that allow the virus to invade our cells). These mutations can make Mu resistant to vaccines targeting advanced proteins to neutralize virus or antibodies produced by previously infected immune systems.

A study last month suggested that the presence of these mutations may justify the reclassification of Mu as “a variant of concern.” The term is used for some of the most disturbing variants of all time, including Delta. Another study not yet peer reviewed found that Mu was more resistant to neutralizing antibodies from Pfizer vaccine or a previous infection than other variants of concern.

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However, after finding evidence that the Pfizer vaccine could also neutralize the Mu variant, despite better protection against the original version of the virus, the Italian researchers concluded that Mu “is not of concern for the effectiveness of the vaccine.” .

Given the extent of the virus’s spread, many scientists expect variants like Mu to continue to emerge.

Andrew Read, a professor at Pennsylvania State University who studies the evolution of infectious diseases, told Insider last month: “The virus itself continues to change phenotype, possibly becoming more contagious and s ‘adapting to drug treatment regimens. There is no reason to think it will stop. We hope that it will approach its maximum contagion in the short term.

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