The Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has been roaming the world for months. But now a new variant, called mu, seems to have come to stay. Although you have to be vigilant, it is best not to obsess over new mutations in the virus. For the moment, this is all we know about the mu variant of this coronavirus.
The Mu variant has the mutations N501Y and E484K, but what does this mean? “The first has been related to an increase in transmissibility and the second to a reduction in the neutralization capacity of antibodies,” the Spanish Ministry of Health indicates in a document on the coronavirus. This is what has set off the alarms to the World Health Organization (WHO), which, since the end of August, is already monitoring this and other new variants. However, while we must be cautious, we must remain calm before Mu.
What we know about the Mu variant of the coronavirus
The mu variant has the N501Y and E484K mutations, related to an increase in transmissibility and a reduction in the neutralization capacity of antibodies; but the WHO is still investigating to confirm this
We already know that a strain, a variant and a mutation are not the same. In this case, we are faced with a SARS-CoV-2 mutation that has given rise to the variant with the scientific name B.1.621. Also known as mu (because it is calling the variants with names of Greek letters). The origin of this variant of SARS-CoV-2 is in Colombia last January. However, it seems that in these months it has been spreading to other countries and has even been found in Spain. But the most important thing about the mu variant is that it could escape the immunity produced by coronavirus vaccines. Although to assure it more research will need to be done.
“The preliminary data presented to the Working Group on the Evolution of the Virus show a reduction in the neutralization capacity of the sera of convalescent and vaccinated patients. similar to that observed for the Beta variant (discovered in South Africa), “the World Health Organization said in a press release. Therefore, it is important to wait for subsequent studies to confirm (or refute) this hypothesis.
You do not have to be afraid; but it does prevent contagion
The mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2 is not worrisome, it falls within what we consider normal
All viruses tend to mutate over time. They can do it very quickly, as is the case with HIV, or do it more slowly, as happened during the near-global lockdown with the coronavirus. Even now the SARS-CoV-2 mutation rate is not worrying, it falls within what we consider normal. And, in general, vaccines against this coronavirus seem to continue to work. That does not rule out that in the future some may escape the immunity generated; but at the moment we don’t have to worry. Also, if we continue maintaining security measures (continuous hand washing; use of masks and social distance) it will be more difficult to catch it.
Mu is not the first variant of the coronavirus that has scared us. Before her were Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta; but along with Mu have also come Eta, Iota, Kappa and Lambda. The OMS monitor new variants to find out how the coronavirus is mutating and in case any of them can escape the immunity produced by vaccines. At the moment, with a better or worse percentage of effectiveness, the injections are keeping us safe; especially serious hospitalizations and dying.
We are not in March 2020. Science knows this coronavirus better and little by little we will know more about the mu variant; also if we need additional preventive measures. But for the moment Do not be afraid of it.