Doctors say COVID-19 Mu variant is one we need to monitor, not panic over


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Medical experts say the COVID-19 “Mu” variant could be the next one to watch.

The variant has been found in 49 states already including Florida as early data suggests the variant could resist antibodies or vaccines, but more research is needed.

But, there’s still concern surrounding the Delta variant. Dr. Jason Salemi at USF’s College of Public Health says the Delta variant makes up almost every case in the U.S.

“The emergence of new variants is something we should continue to expect as long as vaccination efforts remain a challenge,” Salemi said.

The CDC tells 8 On Your Side it has not escalated the Mu variant to a variant of interest in the country.

Dr. Salemi says right now, the Tampa Bay area shouldn’t be too concerned. However, this should stress how important it is to get vaccinated.

“To be clear, the vaccine continues to be effective against all known variants and we have to monitor to see is it really effective against the Mu variant or any of the ones that emerge in the future,” Salemi said.

The CDC says scientists have been tracking the Mu variant since it was originally identified in Colombia in January 2021. In the United States, the Mu variant reached its peak in late June (<5% of circulating variants) and has steadily decreased since.  

“Whether it’s Mu or Lambda, it’s something we need to continue to monitor,” Salemi said.

Dave Eichstaedt and his wife both had COVID-19 earlier this year. He says his wife got hit the hardest. They’re both vaccinated now, but now have concerns about the new variant. 

“It is scary because we don’t know if the vaccines and masks will work against it,” Eichstaedt said. “But I feel safe, it’s no guarantee, but I feel if I got COVID again I would have light symptoms.”

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