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The Mu variant, also known as lineage B.1.621 or VUI-21JUL-1, is one of the variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It was first detected in Colombia in January 2021 and was designated by the WHO as a variant of interest on August 30, 2021.The WHO said the variant has mutations that indicate a risk of resistance to the current vaccines and stressed that further studies were needed to better understand it. Outbreaks of the Mu variant were reported in South America and Europe. The B.1.621 lineage has a sublineage, labeled B.1.621.1 under the PANGO nomenclature, which has already been detected in more than 20 countries worldwide.
Under the simplified naming scheme proposed by the World Health Organization, B.1.621 was labeled "Mu variant", and was considered a variant of interest (VOI), but not yet a variant of concern.
In January 2021, the lineage was first documented in Colombia and was named as lineage B.1.621.
On July 1, 2021, Public Health England (PHE) named lineage B.1.621 VUI-21JUL-1.
On August 30, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) named lineage B.1.621 Mu variant.
The Mu genome has a total number of 21 mutations, including 9 amino acid mutations, all of which are in the virus's spike protein code: T95I, Y144S, Y145N, R346K, E484K or the escape mutation, N501Y, D614G, P681H, and D950N.It has an insertion of one amino acid at position 144/145 of the spike protein, giving a total mutation YY144–145TSN. That mutation is conventionally notated as Y144S and Y145N because insertions would break a lot of comparison tools. It also features a frame-shift deletion of four nucleotides in ORF3a that generates a stop codon two amino acids. The mutation is labeled as V256I, N257Q, and P258*. The list of defining mutations are: S: T95I, Y144S, Y145N, R346K, E484K, N501Y, D614G, P681H, and D950N; ORF1a: T1055A, T1538I, T3255I, Q3729R; ORF1b: P314L, P1342S; N: T205I, ORF3a: Q57H, V256I, N257Q, P258*; ORF8: T11K, P38S, S67F. Mutations in viruses are not new. All viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, undergo change over time. Most of these changes are inconsequential, but some can alter properties to make these viruses more virulent or escape the treatment or vaccines.
On August 31, 2021, the WHO released an update which stated that the "Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape", noting that preliminary studies showed some signs of this but that "this needs to be confirmed by further studies."
One such study conducted in a lab in Rome tested the effectiveness of sera collected from recipients of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine against the Mu variant, and found that "neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.621 lineage was robust", albeit at a lower level than that observed against the B.1 variant.
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The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019; a lockdown in Wuhan and other cities in surrounding Hubei failed to contain the outbreak, and it quickly spread to other parts of mainland China and around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, and a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Multiple variants of the virus have emerged and become dominant in many countries since 2021, with the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants being the most virulent. As of 26 October 2021, more than 244 million cases and 4.95 million deaths have been confirmed, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in history.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2), also known as the coronavirus, is the virus that causes COVID-19, the respiratory illness responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The virus was previously referred to by its provisional name, 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), and has also been called human coronavirus 2019. First identified in the city of Wuhan, Hubei, China, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, and a pandemic on 11 March 2020. SARS‑CoV‑2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus that is contagious in humans. As described by the US National Institutes of Health, it is the successor to SARS-CoV-1, the virus that caused the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak.
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The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States during 2021.
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