New Covid variant, known as ‘Mu’, under close WHO scrutiny due to concerns over its vaccine resistance

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reclassified the ‘Mu’ Covid strain, also known as B.1.621, as a “variant of interest,” amid concerns that its mutations indicate a potential risk of resistance to existing vaccines.

The WHO announced the classification in the organization’s weekly pandemic bulletin on Tuesday, several months after the Mu strain was first identified in Colombia.

“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the WHO said, adding that “preliminary data showed it has the same behaviour as the Beta variant.”

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The decision to monitor the Mu strain comes amid concern from the WHO about the potential risk of resistance to vaccines posed by new mutations, as case numbers begin to rise globally in countries that have relaxed Covid restrictions.


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