Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is keeping an eye on the mu variant of the novel coronavirus — even if it’s not a threat to the United States yet.
Dr. Fauci warns about mu variant
Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, said at a White House press briefing Thursday that the mu variant isn’t something for Americans to worry about yet.
- “We’re paying attention to it, we take everything like that seriously, but we don’t consider it an immediate threat right now,” Fauci said.
WHO reveals mu variant
The World Health Organization said Wednesday that it has started to monitor the mu variant, which might evade COVID-19 vaccines. The variant — which has the technical name of the B.1.621 variant — was added to the WHO’s list of variants “of interest” in August.
- The variant has been found in 39 countries. However, it only makes up 0.1% of all COVID-19 cases right now.
- Still, it’s surging in South America, making up 39% of cases in Colombia alone.
Does the mu variant evade vaccines?
Fauci confirmed that the mu variant has mutations that suggest it could evade antibodies from the vaccine.
- “This variant has a constellation of mutations that suggests that it would evade certain antibodies, not only monoclonal antibodies, but vaccine- and convalescent serum-induced antibodies,” Fauci said, per Fox News. “But there isn’t a lot of clinical data to suggest that, it is mostly laboratory in-vitro data.”
- “Remember, even when you have variants that do diminish somewhat the efficacy of vaccines, the vaccines still are quite effective against variants of that time,” Fauci said.
But health officials are “keeping a very close eye” on what happens with the mu variant in the future, Fauci said.