Quebec health institute recommends province label Mu a COVID-19 variant of interest

Quebec health institute recommends province label Mu a COVID-19 variant of interest
The Quebec Institute of Public Health (INSPQ) is recommending the COVID-19 Mu variant and its sublineage be included on the SARS-CoV-2 variants of interest list.

"Due to the international health situation, the recent increase in the number of cases of the lineage B.1.621 (Mu) in Quebec and its classification as a variant of interest (VoI) by several agencies... the INSPQ recommends that variant B.1.621 (Mu) and its sublineage be included in the list of SARS-CoV-2 in Quebec,".

The Public Health Agency of Canada already lists Mu as a variant of interest , but not as a variant of concern (VoC).

The VoC list currently includes the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants.

Mu cases have been detected in B.C. and Ontario and the first case in Quebec Mu was identified on May 18. The INSPQ confirmed 156 cases as of Sept. 16.

"It should be noted that the delays intrinsic to whole genome sequencing analyses certainly cause an underestimation of the number of cases of this lineage and its sublineage," the INSPQ said.

The INSPQ said in its report that due to the established criteria defining a variant of interest, Quebec should add Mu to the list.

When a variant is classified as such, it can be reported to the regional public health authorities and can be included in the regularly released statistics.

says that worldwide there were Mu 9,773 mu variant cases (7,279: B.1.621 and 2,494: B.1.621.1) as of Sept. 24.

A World Health Organization statement on booster doses said variants could be a reason to introduce booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine, though it adds, "To date, the evidence remains limited and still inconclusive on any widespread need for booster doses following a primary vaccination series."

The INSPQ cites a study saying the Mu variant was 7.6 times more resistant to the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine than the original strain of the virus and more resistant to the vaccine than the other variants, including Delta.
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