March 3, 2024

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COVID-19 Mu variants have spread to 39 countries while Delta is not over

COVID-19 Mu variants have spread to 39 countries while Delta is not over



COVID-19 Mu variants have spread to 39 countries while Delta is not over. 

COVID-19 variants appear frequently: the Mu variant strain has spread to 39 countries, and the new variants in South Africa are more spreading. 

World Health Organization announced on Tuesday that a new variant of the new coronavirus was named “Mu” and included in the list of “variants to be seen”. The variant has now spread to at least 39 countries and may have an impact on the effectiveness of the vaccine.

The Mu virus strain (scientific name B.1.621) was first discovered in Colombia in South America in January this year. Since then, sporadic cases have been found in dozens of countries, and local outbreaks have also occurred in some parts of South America. At present, there have been cases of infection with the Mu strain in Europe and the United States, and two people infected with the Myu strain have also been found in Japan.

In its latest weekly briefing on the COVID-19 epidemic, the WHO stated that the Mu strain “contains a series of mutations, indicating that it may have the potential for immune escape.” Preliminary studies have found that the Mu strain may evade the immune system in a similar way to the Beta strain discovered last year, allowing people who have previously been infected with  COVID-19 or vaccinated to be infected with the variant. However, the transmission and immune escape ability of the Mu strain still needs further research.

At present, the Mu strain accounts for less than 0.1% of confirmed cases worldwide , but it has spread rapidly in some countries in South America and is still increasing. Among them, the Mu strain has accounted for 39% of confirmed cases in Colombia and 13% of confirmed cases in Ecuador. With the delta strain dominating the situation, the breakthrough ability of the Mu strain in the above-mentioned South American countries has made scientists pay special attention to the study of its transmission ability.

However, the Public Health England issued a risk assessment of the Mu strain in early August that there is currently no conclusive evidence that the Mu strain is more capable of spreading than the Delta variant. The WHO also stated that it will pay close attention to the spread of the Mu strain in South America, especially its co-transmission with the Delta strain.

In South Africa, scientists also discovered a new coronavirus variant with multiple mutations this week, named C.1.2. A study that has not yet been peer-reviewed stated that the variant was first discovered in South Africa in May of this year. It has now appeared in most provinces of South Africa and spread to 7 other countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

According to South African virus sequencing data, as of July, the C.1.2 variant in South Africa is far from being able to compete with the mainstream variant “Delta” or even replace it. In June and July this year, the C.1.2 variant accounted for 1% and 3% of the newly diagnosed cases in South Africa, while the Delta strain accounted for 67% and 89%.

However, due to the variability of the C.1.2 variant, the variant has received widespread attention worldwide as soon as it was discovered. Preliminary studies have shown that some of the key mutations contained in this variant have also been found in other variants with high transmission ability. Although the virus does not have more mutations, the stronger its transmission ability, but the emergence of these key mutations means that the variant has a higher transmission potential, which requires further attention and research by scientists.

At present, the WHO has not yet included the C.1.2 variant in the list of “variants to be seen” because the variant has only been discovered recently and the spread is not widespread, so it is too early to judge. Scientists are studying the transmission ability and immune escape ability of this variant. The South African National Institute of Infectious Diseases said that researchers currently suspect that the variant may have a certain immune escape ability, but the vaccine will still provide a high protection rate.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, many variants of the virus have emerged. However, not every variant will dominate the world with high transmission ability like the Delta strain. Many variants died before or shortly after they were formally discovered. Although some variants made global headlines, they were quickly replaced by new variants.

For example, the Beta variant, also found in South Africa, was listed by the World Health Organization as a higher-level “variant to be watched”, but it did not gain a foothold over time and eventually became the mainstream variant. It’s the Delta strain.

However, the longer the virus spreads around the world, the greater the possibility of mutation, and the greater the possibility of re-emergence of the delta strain, which is more transmissible and even more resistant to vaccines. Therefore, accelerating the promotion of vaccination on a global scale, especially in developing countries, is vital to the global fight against the epidemic. As of now, more than 90 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been vaccinated per 100 people in Europe and North America , but only 7.6 doses per 100 people have been vaccinated in Africa.

Public health experts have repeatedly warned that if the new coronavirus spreads in developing countries for a long time due to inadequate vaccination, it will eventually be difficult for developed countries to survive alone. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said recently that virus variants are “outperforming vaccines”, and global vaccine inequality is to blame.

There are also 175 public health experts, scientists and activists in the United States who jointly sent a letter to President Biden in August, asking the Biden administration to act immediately to stop the stockpiling of vaccines and provide more vaccines to other countries in the world to prevent more dangerous virus variants in the future. Appear.



(source:internet, reference only)

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