Mu Variant: Vaccine-resistant Covid strain deadlier than Delta grips America

'Variant of interest' now detected in 49 states, scientists say it is deadlier, more resistant to vaccines than Delta


                            Mu Variant: Vaccine-resistant Covid strain deadlier than Delta grips America
A medical staff member works on a computer at United Memorial Medical center on November 14, 2020, in Houston, Texas (Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

As the Covid-19 deaths are still on the rise in the US, a new variant is slowly spreading over the country, causing scientists to issue warnings. The Mu variant is now present in 49 out of 50 states, with around 2,300 cases recorded so far. The reason those numbers are alarming experts is because the variant is reportedly deadlier, and more vaccine-resistant than the Delta variant, which has already caused shockingly high numbers of deaths and hospitalizations.

A large portion of America is still refusing to get jabbed, leading to a surge in hospitalizations, and deaths. From Joe Rogan to Georgia Councilman Jim Sells, numerous anti-vaxxers have been hospitalized of late, and yet many are still unwilling to take Covid-19 seriously. As we have reported, prominent anti-maskers like Caleb Wallace have died from the virus recently, refusing to take the necessary precautions. Things could get a lot worse though, as Mu is now spreading all over the US.

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Barring Nebraska, all other states have reported cases of the new variant, with Florida and California being the worst hit, with 384 cases each. In the grander scheme of things, those numbers may seem like little cause for concern, but nothing could be further from the truth. Even though Mu currently accounts for less than 1% of all cases, history shows we would be wise to act now. 

A mother says goodbye to her son, who had severe Covid-19 symptoms, as medics from the Houston Fire Department EMS transport him to a hospital on August 16, 2021, in Houston, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Why is the Mu variant so concerning?

The strain was first discovered in Colombia in January 2021 and has since been detected in 41 nations including the US, UK, Hong Kong, and Ecuador. As with the Delta variant, the strain has quickly jumped to become a leading cause of infection. Globally, it makes up less than 0.1% of cases, but numbers from individual nations tell a different story. By September, the Mu variant was responsible for 39% of cases in Colombia, and 13% in Ecuador. 

But it's not the numbers alone that's got scientists worried. The World Health Organization listed Mu as a "variant of interest" only on August 30, given its quick spread around the globe. Studies into the variant are still ongoing, so we cannot say for sure just how deadly the strain is, but early reports indicate there is every reason to be cautious. The WHO noted that the Mu strain "has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape." Basically, it can escape the body's defenses, including that provided by the vaccine, as noted with the Beta and Gamma variants as well. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci doubled down on that warning, saying, "This variant has a constellation of mutations that suggests that it would evade certain antibodies, not only monoclonal antibodies but vaccine- and convalescent serum-induced antibodies," on September 2. Right now, it is too early to say if the Mu variant is actually deadlier, or more vaccine-resistant, but history would indicate it is. The Beta and Delta variants have proven to be more deadly, not less, since they were first discovered, so it is very likely Mu will be too. 

People wear masks while walking in Grand Central Terminal on July 27, 2021, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

 

US keeping a 'close eye'

During a press briefing earlier in the week, Fauci said, "We’re paying attention to it, we take everything like that seriously." He did note, however, that the variant was not "an immediate threat right now." As of September 7, the Delta variant is the dominant variant across the US, responsible for over 99% of cases and hospitalizations. The strain is also somewhat resistant to vaccines, the reason we are seeing an uptick in cases of "breakthrough Covid", i.e. people being diagnosed with Covid even after being fully vaccinated.

While Fauci noted that Mu "isn’t even close to being dominant" in the US, the WHO's classification has got experts concerned. "We’re keeping a very close eye on it," Fauci said on the numbers in Ecuador and Colombia, which could be mirrored in the US. Already the numbers are high enough to get experts talking. Los Angeles has recorded 167 cases of the Mu variant, while Houston has also become a hotspot with 50 cases detected at the Houston Methodist Hospital. 

Even if Mu doesn't end up becoming the predominant strain in the US, the news should concern everyone. As Covid-19 spreads more freely, it can more easily mutate into varients, and even develop better resistance to vaccines. The only way to ensure that doesn't happen is to wear a mask and get vaccinated. Otherwise, we'll be back to where we were in 2020. 

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