Everything we know about the mu variant of the coronavirus

What is the mu variant of the coronavirus?

 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. At 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 with a reduction in the neutralization capacity of antibodies “, indicates in a document about the coronavirus the Ministry of Health of Spain. 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, although 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 WHO continues to investigate 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 ensure it will have to do more research .

“The preliminary data presented to the Working Group on the Evolution of the Virus show a reduction in the neutralization capacity of convalescent and vaccinated sera similar to that observed for the Beta variant (discovered in South Africa) “, notes in a press release the World Health Organization. Therefore, it is important to wait for subsequent studies to confirm (or refute) this hypothesis.

There is not 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 mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2 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. In addition, if we continue maintaining security measures (continuous hand washing; use of masks and social distance) it will be more difficult to get infected .

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. WHO monitors 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 things on the mu variant; also if we need additional preventive measures. But for the moment do not be afraid of it .