Another new Covid-19 strain has been classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization. Picture: Karoly Arvai/AFP/Pool
Another new Covid-19 strain has been classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization. Picture: Karoly Arvai/AFP/Pool

B.1.621: WHO monitoring another new Covid-19 variant of concern

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Sep 1, 2021

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Another new Covid-19 strain has been classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).

On Tuesday in its weekly pandemic bulletin, the WHO said it was monitoring a new coronavirus variant scientifically known as B.1.621 or ’Mu’, which was first identified in Colombia in January.

The WHO’s weekly bulletin on the pandemic said the variant has mutations, meaning like the Beta variant, it could be more resistant to vaccines.

Further studies will be conducted to determine if that is the case.

The bulletin says: “Since its first identification in Colombia in January 2021, there have been a few sporadic reports of cases of the Mu variant and some larger outbreaks have been reported from other countries in South America and in Europe.“

On Monday, South African scientists said they identified a new and potentially more contagious variant of Covid-19, the C.1.2. variant.

It was first flagged in May and has since been spotted in most of South Africa’s nine provinces as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Portugal, New Zealand and Switzerland.

WHO currently names four variants of concern, which are more easily transmitted, affect severity of disease or evade tests, vaccines or treatments: Alpha or B.1.1.7; Beta or B.1.351; Gamma or P.1; and Delta or B.1.617.2.

According to WHO variants of interest, which have troubling mutations and have caused clusters of illness, include Eta or B.1.525; Iota or B.1.526; Kappa or B.1.617.1 and Lambda or C.37,

Five variants, including Mu, are to be monitored.

After it was detected in Colombia, Mu has since been reported in other South American countries and in Europe.

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