Three cases of 'Covid Mu' variant found in Scotland amid fears over new strain

By Sophie Law & Sophie Buchan

Three cases of the new 'Mu' Covid variant have been detected in Scotland, according to official figures.

A recent report by the UK Government, published on Friday September 3, found three "confirmed and probable cases of the Mu variant" had been discovered.

Some 53 cases of the variant have been documented in the UK so far, which was first recorded in Colombia in January.

The 'Mu' strain is among the latest to be officially listed as a 'variant under investigation' by the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid fears it may resist vaccine immunity.

The variant first emerged in the UK in May and no deaths have been linked to the strain.

The Mu variant, also known as B.1.621, was added to the WHO’s watchlist on Monday August 30 after it was detected in 39 countries and sparked a wave in Colombia, where it makes up four in 10 cases.

According to the WHO’s weekly bulletin on the pandemic, it was found to possess a cluster of mutations that may make it less susceptible to the immune protection from the vaccine.

Three cases of the new 'Mu' Covid variant have been detected in Scotland (Getty Images)

Preliminary data suggests it may evade immune defences in a similar way to the Beta variant first discovered in South Africa.

However, the report adds research is still in the early stages and needs to be confirmed by further work.

Scientists are eager to know whether the Mu variant is more transmissible, or causes more serious disease, than the Delta variant that is dominant across the UK.

“The epidemiology of the Mu variant in South America, particularly with the co-circulation of the Delta variant, will be monitored for changes,” the WHO bulletin states.

Mu has caused some concern in the United States, where more than 1,750 cases have been recorded.

Total number of Mu Covid confirmed cases in UK:

  • Scotland: 3
  • England: 47
  • Wales: 1
  • Northern Ireland: 2

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