By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Delta be damned.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it is monitoring a new coronavirus variant called “Mu,” a strain that first surfaced in Colombia earlier this year.
“Mu is a variant of interest,” the WHO noted in a news release.
The variant contains mutations that indicate a risk of resistance to COVID-19 vaccines, health officials determined.
“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” WHO officials stated.
Nearly 219 million people globally had contracted the novel coronavirus since March 2020, when officials officially declared a pandemic.
Over 4.5 million have died, including more than 657,000 in the United States, where the disease has disproportionately attacked African Americans and other communities of color.
Health officials have identified the Delta variant — and the number of people that remain unvaccinated — as the primary reasons that more than 100,000 people in the United States are currently hospitalized — the largest number since the beginning of the year.
The Department of Health and Human Services revealed that 30 percent of intensive care beds in hospitals around the country hold COVID-19 patients, and they point the finger largely at how the Delta variant has rapidly spread through the extensive unvaccinated population.
Just under 52 percent of the U.S. population has full vaccination, while 61 percent received at least one dose.
Virus rates continue to spike around the globe, and the WHO has determined that the Mu strain could make matters worse.
Mu joins the list of four variants of concern named by the WHO.
The list includes Alpha, Lambda, and Delta.
Each is present in at least 170 countries.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t list Mu as a variant of interest or a variant of concern.
Barrons reported that the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has previously listed Mu as a variant of interest.
The ECDC reported that there is evidence that the mutations in the Mu variant now impact transmissibility and immunity.
“WHO will closely follow the epidemiological evolution of this variant, along with studies on its impact,” the agency noted.