September 3. As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues its deadly sweep across the U.S., officials say that they are keeping a “very close eye” on a new variant that may be able to bypass existing coronavirus antibodies.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Thursday that the U.S. is taking the variant, dubbed Mu, “very seriously,” but that it hasn’t taken an extensive hold in this country.
“We’re keeping a very close eye on it. It is really seen here, but it is not at all even close to being dominant,” Fauci said. “As you know, the Delta is more than 99% dominant.”
Fauci said the Mu variant, technically known as B.1.621, has mutations suggesting “it would evade certain antibodies,” potentially including those from vaccines.
“But there isn’t a lot of clinical data to suggest that. It is mostly laboratory in vitro data,” he added. “…We don’t consider it an immediate threat right now.”