3 variants of concern come together, result in new coronavirus strain

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new coronavirus mutation has landed on U.S. soil.

The variant, scientists say, shows the lineage of three existing variants also circulating around the country. 

Alpha, beta and gamma — all of which are considered variants of concern by both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization — have joined forces. The result is mu.

The strain has been wreaking havoc across Asia, South Africa and other areas across the globe for months. Now, researchers say, it has been detected in 49 states, all except Nebraska.

News 8 spoke with Dr. Christopher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, who shared what we know so far about mu.

“Nothing that we’re seeing at this point is significantly different symptom-wise,” he said. “The questions that remain to be answered are is immunity that was established by prior variants and, of course, the vaccine. That will be the million-dollar question here in the United States.”

Doehring says the delta variant remains the dominant threat in the United States while mu accounts for less than 1 out of every 1,000 COVID-19 cases.

Monitoring variants is ongoing as scientists continue to make sense of how the coronavirus is evolving, he adds. Whether it is more transmissible, infectious or can overcome immunity remains unknown at this time. 


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