Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that U.S. public health officials are “keeping a close eye” on a new variant of Covid-19 that was first discovered in Colombia.
Known as the B.1.621 or “Mu variant” according to the World Health Organization’s nomenclature, it has “a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” according to a WHO report released Monday. “Preliminary data presented to the Virus Evolution Working Group show a reduction in the neutralization capacity for the convalescent and vaccine time similar to that seen for the Beta variant, but this needs to be confirmed by further studies.”
Today, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that the Mu variant has been identified in the region for the first time. The numbers are still small; Only 167 Mu variants have so far been identified in LA County. “These samples were sequenced between June 19 and August 21, with the majority of the Mu samples being sequenced in July,” according to a statement from the county’s public health authorities.
There was no mention of these cases the day before Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer briefed reporters on LA County’s Covid response. Mu, classified by the WHO as “variant of interest”, did on the chart presented by Ferrer on Thursday, drawing only “variants of concern”. Even if it had been, however, it had barely registered next to Delta, which she said is 99% of all identified variants.
Speaking of Mu Fauci, he said: “This variant has a constellation of mutations that suggest it would avoid certain antibodies, not just monoclonal antibodies, but vaccine- and convalescent serum-induced antibodies … But there is not much clinical data to suggest It is mostly laboratory in vitro data. “
Mu was first discovered in Colombia in January this year. It has since been reported in 39 countries. According to the Washington Post, 2,000 Mu cases have been identified in the United States, including California, Florida, Texas and New York. The California Department of Public Health told the Post on Thursday that 348 Mu cases have been identified so far.
Another new variant that is not on the LA list that has not been seen in the county – or country for that matter – is C.1.2. The variant, which was first identified in South Africa in July. According to the LA Times, C.1.2 has “made its way from Africa to Asia, Oceania and Europe. Researchers have discovered it in Botswana, Mauritius, China, New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. “It has worrying mutations, but the strain is so new that it is not yet known whether they really pose a greater threat than other variants.
LA officials confirmed 2,673 new cases of and 37 new deaths due to Covid today. On Thursday, the 7-day average caseworker per. 100,000 by 4% from 26.2 last week. Ferrer said Thursday that “hospital admissions may be plateauing or even decline slightly.” There were 1,641 Covid patients hospitalized today, and an increasing number – 27% – were in the ICU. The positivity of the test was 3.3%.
Public health continues to monitor COVID-19 variants. 37 new deaths and 2,673 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. See https://t.co/emrao2x3Hc pic.twitter.com/4F4VRmvvgd
– LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) September 3, 2021