The World Health Organization is monitoring a new COVID-19 variant called Mu and the agency says even if you had COVID or the vaccine, it might not be enough to provide immunity against it.
Variants are classified into different categories. Variants of concern are defined as mutated strains that are either more contagious, more deadly or more resistant to current vaccines/
Variants of interest, like mu, are classified if they show reduced immunity against previous infection, vaccination, or treatment and could spread easier.
There are a number of variants in both categories being monitored. Mu was first identified in Colombia and has seen sporadic cases emerge throughout South America and Europe. Globally, it accounts for less than .1 percent of all cases.
But the WHO has noted that it’s become more prevalent in Colombia and Ecuador, where it accounts for 39 percent and 13 percent of respective cases.
Dr. Eneida Roldan of FIU says the new variant is one to watch because of South Florida’s proximity.
As far as the variants of concern - Delta, Beta, Gamma, and Alpha – Delta is the current variant responsible for most COVID cases in the United States because of how fast it spreads. Vaccines, however, have shown to provide protection against it.
It’s still too early to know if Mu will be more contagious, more deadly or more resistant to current vaccine and treatments, but health experts are keeping a close watch.