The World Health Organization says it is monitoring a new vaccine-resistant variant of COVID-19 called "mu" that appears to be rising in Colombia.
The mu strain, or as the scientific name goes B.1.621, was first detected in January in Colombia. So far, 2,000 cases of the variant have been detected in the United States. And over 4,600 cases of the variant have been spotted in at least 40 other countries.
According to the Daily Mail, the World Health Organization reports that "since its first identification in Colombia in January 2021, there have been a few sporadic reports of cases of the mu variant and some larger outbreaks have been reported from other countries in South America and in Europe."
"Although the global prevalence of the mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1 percent, the prevalence in Colombia (39 percent) and Ecuador (13 percent) has consistently increased."
"Although the global prevalence of the Mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1 percent, the prevalence in Colombia (39 percent) and Ecuador (13 percent) has consistently increased."
The Daily Mail also reports a tweet now removed from Maria Van Kerkhove, one of the WHO's infectious disease epidemiologists, said "circulation of Mu is down globally and it [makes up] less than 0.1 per cent of currently shared sequences of Mu, but this needs careful observation."
"Monitoring and assessment of variants is ongoing and critically important to understand the evolution of this virus, in fighting Covid and adapting strategies as needed."
Currently, in the U.S., lawmakers are seeking to ramp up vaccinations. In California, lawmakers are working on legislation that would call for the vaccination for all employees. At the same time, others are calling for vaccine verification for anyone who wishes to enter gyms or restaurants.
According to Geert Vanden Bossche, who holds a Ph.D. in Virology from the University of Hohenheim, Germany, conducting mass vaccination of Sars-CoV-2 is counterproductive and promotes the virus's evolution.
"Conducting mass vaccination campaigns on a background of high infection rates generates optimal conditions for breeding even more infectious Sars-CoV-2 variants," Bossche writes. "The combination of massive, spike-directed immune pressure combined with high infectious pressure rapidly allows these variants to reproduce more effectively such as to outcompete previously circulating variants/ strains. Mass vaccination, therefore, promotes viral evolution towards more infectious variants."
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