The variant was deemed more transmissible than the delta variant and had the ability to evade vaccines, as I wrote for the Deseret News. In fact, the World Health Organization said the variant was “of interest” and needed to be monitored.
- “The mu strain needs further study to confirm whether it will prove to be more contagious, more deadly or more resistant to current vaccines and treatments,” according to CNBC.
- Of course, there’s a chance the variant could return to the U.S. if someone from outside the U.S. with the variant infects an American. But for now, the mu variant threat seems to have been quelled.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said in a video Q&A in early September that the delta variant was “outcompeting and replacing” all other coronavirus variants. Basically, delta was infecting so many people that the other variants couldn’t spread, including the alpha, beta and gamma variants.
- “Of those four variants of concern, delta is, by far, the most transmissible,” Van Kerkhove said. “If delta is identified or starts to circulate in a country where there is beta ... (delta) has quickly replaced the variant there.”
Dr. Anna Durbin, a professor in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Newsweek that variants often battle for supremacy. The delta variant has stopped the mu and lambda variant from growing.
- “These viruses are all competing with each other for advantage to be the one that survives,” Durbin told Newsweek. “We know that the lambda variant has some of the same mutations as the delta variant that we think (will) allow it to be more transmissible, so it would be difficult to outcompete the delta variant.”