Doctors concerned over new COVID-19 variant ‘Mu’

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A new variant of COVID-19 could be on the horizon, and doctors and health leaders are keeping an eye out.

So far, the Mu variant has been identified in at least one person in 49 out of the 50 states with the most cases being reported in Alaska. It has also been identified in 39 different countries. It was first discovered in South America.

It is considered a variant of interest by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The variants of interest are those that…there is some evidence that suggests they may be more transmissible or more serious,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, the Director of Public Health for the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

It’s being closely monitored by federal, state, and local health leaders to see how it could impact a person if they become infected.

“Theoretically, it could do a lot of different things. But right now we’re trying to figure out whether or not it’s going to be one of those mutations that kind of overtakes everybody else,” said Dr. Robert Oliverio of Roper St. Francis Healthcare.

The Delta variant is still the most prominent variant in the United States accounting for nearly 100% of all recent COVID-19 cases in the nation.

It’s being closely watched because a list of potential outcomes could stem from the variant should it become more prevalent.

“It could make vaccines not work, it could make your own immunity, if you had covid in the past, not work, it could make the virus invisible to tests that we run now to detect it. These are all possibilities,” said Dr. Oliverio.

As it stands now, the mu variant accounts for a very small number of cases in the U.S.

For more on variants, click here.

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