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Mu variant found in Wales probably less transmissable but may be more vaccine resistant

08 Sep 2021 2 minute read
Covid-19 testing

A new variant of Covid found in Wales may be less transmissible but more resistant to Covid immunity, scientists have said.

Public Health Wales have confirmed that one case has been found. Public Health England meanwhile have said it is unlikely to be designated a ‘variant of concern’ at the moment because of the low case numbers.

Warwick Medical School’s Professor Lawrence Young said that while Mu, or B.1.621, was likely less transmissible than the Delta variant, its vaccine resistance could make it a health threat.

It contains the mutation E484K, which can escape antibodies gained as protection from the vaccine.

While so far only one case of Mu has been found in Wales, there have also been three cases each in the Midlands, North West and Scotland, two in Northern Ireland and one each in the South West and Yorkshire

The variant which emerged in Colombia in January accounts for 4,315 coronavirus cases globally, and has been found in every state in the US.

The World Health Organisation identified Mu as a variant of interest on 31 August, describing it as a “constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape”.

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