Variants of concern cause significant transmission or COVID-19 clusters in multiple counties with an increasing prevalence among increasing case numbers or has other impacts that suggest a risk to global public health, according to WHO.
Other variants of concern include eta, Iota, Kappa and Lambda.
Both the Lambda and Mu variants have been detected in Ohio, but only represent fractions of a percent of the COVID cases in the state, said Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.
“[Mu and Lambda are] being seen all over the world and all over the country,” he said. “They don’t seem to be growing in the face of the Delta variant.”
According to the Association Press, the Mu variant accounts for fewer than 1% of global cases.
“We are going to have more variants,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, medical director of infectious diseases at OhioHealth. “We will likely to get through the whole Greek alphabet. As we have more infections, we are expecting more variants.”
He also addressed concerns about reports indicating the Mu variant has a lower antibody response.
“There’s more to the immune response after you get vaccinated than the antibody level that’s induced,” Gastaldo said.
While antibody levels may drop over time after being vaccinated, patients still have cell-mediated immunity, which will help protect people against a severe infection, he explained.
“Right now, there is no signal that the Mu variant will take over,” he said. “It’s all about Delta right now.”