Preprint: MU B.1.621 the most resistant variant to convalescent and vaccinated sera to date

Here, we demonstrate that the Mu variant is highly resistant to sera from COVID-19 convalescents and BNT162b2-vaccinated individuals. Direct comparison of different SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins revealed that Mu spike is more resistant to serum-mediated neutralization than all other currently recognized variants of interest (VOI) and concern (VOC). This includes the Beta variant (B.1.351) that has been suggested to represent the most resistant variant to convalescent and vaccinated sera to date.

Biorxiv Preprint: Ineffective neutralization of the SARS-CoV-2 Mu variant by convalescent and vaccine sera

 

The stunning rise of the Mu variant

 

 

 

Image by Sofia Cristina Córdova Valladares from Pixabay

WHO: Vaccines won’t save us. We’ll have to learn to live with the virus

The World Health Organization has thrown in the towel and surrendered to Covid. The WHO have finally realised that Covid-19 vaccines aren’t going to save our asses, and they are now recommending that governments around the world learn to live with the virus. Yes, that’ll be the same virus that has already killed millions, disabled tens of millions, and infected hundreds of millions. Sars-CoV-2 is apparently something we can learn to live with though, just like the ebola virus, or polio, or smallpox, or the bubonic plague.

Welcome to the new normal!

Dr Hans Kluge:  “I think it brings us to the point that the aim of a vaccination is first and foremost to prevent more serious disease, and that’s mortality. If we consider that Covid will continue to mutate and remain with us, the way influenza is, then we should anticipate how to gradually adapt our vaccination strategy to endemic transmission and gather really precious knowledge about the impact of additional jabs,” he added.

Hans Kluge quotes from The Straitstimes.com article

The Daily Mail has gone into meltdown over this one:Covid vaccines won’t end pandemic and officials must now ‘gradually adapt strategy’ to cope with inevitable spread of virus, World Health Organization official warns

 

Kirsty Allsopp: We have to learn to live with Covid

 

** Just to be clear, there will be NO mild “endemic” phase of Sars-CoV-2.  Throwing in the towel now will condemn hundreds of millions to die because we haven’t got the backbone to make the sacrifices necessary. **

 

 

The stunning rise of the Mu variant

The new Mu variant, B.1.621, detected for the first time in Colombia, surpasses Lambda and Delta and is already ranked as the second with the highest circulation in Chile.  According to the latest epidemiological report from the Public Health Institute (ISP), although Gamma continues to be the most frequent variant with 41%, of the sequenced samples, Mu, with 29%, surpassed Delta (18%) and Lambda (11 %).

In less than a week, the Mu variant detected for the first time in Colombia , has been gaining space at the community level and has doubled its presence in the sequencing of positive samples carried out in the country , according to the latest report of virus variants published today by the Institute of Public Health of Chile (ISP).

LaTercera.com report (in Spanish)

Above, the latest sars-CoV-2 variant chart for Chile.

 

Below, the same chart just two weeks ago:

 

Preprint: Mu variant B.1.621 the most resistant variant to convalescent and vaccinated sera to date

 

Belgium: 7 fully vaccinated care home residents die after contracting B.1.621 Mu variant first found in Colombia

Taiwan: first case of Mu variant found is a vaccine breakthrough case

Taiwan announced its first confirmed case of the Mu variant of COVID-19, a Taiwanese woman who had received two Pfizer vaccine doses in the U.S.  Taiwan’s first case of the Mu variant was originally diagnosed with COVID-19 on August 13th. The infected person is a Taiwanese woman in her 60s who had returned from the U.S. in early August.

She had received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the U.S. on July 5th and the second on July 26th. When she returned to Taiwan on August 3rd, she did not report any symptoms, but a test administered at the airport revealed that she was positive for COVID, with a Ct value of 29.

Taiwan News Report

 

Image by tingyaoh from Pixabay

WHO designates B.1.621 as a variant of interest named “Mu”

Based on the latest round of assessments, B.1.621 was classified as a VOI on 30 August 2021 and given the WHO label “Mu”. This includes the descendent Pango lineage B.1.621.1. This variant is known as 21H in Nextstrain nomenclature. The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape. Preliminary data presented to the Virus Evolution Working Group show a reduction in neutralization capacity of convalescent and vaccinee sera similar to that seen for the Beta variant, but this needs to be confirmed by further studies.

Since its first identification in Colombia in January 2021, there have been a few sporadic reports of cases of the Mu variant and some larger outbreaks have been reported from other countries in South America and in Europe. As of 29 August, over 4500 sequences (3794 sequences of B.1.621 and 856 sequences of B.1.621.1) have been uploaded to GISAID from 39 countries. Although the global prevalence of the Mu variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1%, the prevalence in Colombia (39%) and Ecuador (13%) has consistently increased. The reported prevalence should be interpreted with due consideration of sequencing capacities and timeliness of sharing of sequences, both of which vary between countries. More studies are required to understand the phenotypic and clinical characteristics of this variant. The epidemiology of the Mu variant in South America, particularly with the co-circulation of the Delta variant, will be monitored for changes.

WHO COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update

 

Belgium: 7 fully vaccinated care home residents die after contracting B.1.621 variant first found in Colombia

 

Preprint: Characterization of the emerging B.1.621 variant of interest of SARS-CoV-2

 

 

 

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

USA: B.1.621 now at 10% of Covid-19 sequences in South Florida

Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Health, revealed that now 10% of COVID-positive patients whose results are being sequenced at the University of Miami’s pathology lab have a strain [B.1.621] that originated out of Colombia.

“And here’s a real shocking thing that’s spreading in Colombia quite a bit,” Migoya told Local 10 News. “And they haven’t seen it anywhere else outside of Colombia. Well, guess what? In the last week, 10% of our patients had the Colombian variant.” (July 26th 2021)

Local10.com news report

 

Belgium: 7 fully vaccinated care home residents die after contracting B.1.621 variant first found in Colombia

Preprint: Characterization of the emerging B.1.621 variant of interest of SARS-CoV-2

In this study, we reported the emergence and spread of the novel B.1.621 lineage of SARS-CoV-2, a new VOI with the insertion 146N and several amino acid substitutions in the Spike protein (T95I,Y144T, Y145S, R346K, E484K, N501Y and P681H). Although B.1.621 does not meet all of the VOC classification criteria so far, the set of mutations gathered the Spike protein could confer a synergistic impact on attributes such as reduction of vaccine-induced protection from severe disease, increased transmission and disease severity

Medrxiv preprint: Characterization of the emerging B.1.621 variant of interest of SARS-CoV-2
 

Belgium: 7 fully vaccinated care home residents die after contracting B.1.621 variant first found in Colombia

 

 

Image by gustavo9917 from Pixabay

Belgium: 7 fully vaccinated care home residents die after contracting B.1.621 Mu variant first found in Colombia

During the past two weeks, 7 residents of a care home near Zaventem in Belgium have died after having contracted the B.1.621 variant of coronavirus first identified in Colombia, South America. All those that have died at the care home had been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

On 16th July, two coronavirus infections were confirmed at the Ter Burg care home. As soon as the first infections were confirmed those in charge at the home put the afflicted section under quarantine. A total of 20 residents tested positive. As measures had been taken the outbreak was contained in the section of the home where it had started.

Nevertheless, 7 of the 28 residents with advanced dementia have passed away. Some of these were in poor physical health to start with. One of them was terminally and another was being given palliative care. However, some of those that died were in relatively good physical health.

VRT.be report

Interestingly, the UK PHE have just released a threat assessment for B.1.621, reprinted below, and there are some recent posts from their Twitter account.

 

UK PHE threat assessment for B.1.621

 

 

In a possibly related development, Belgium has decided to lift its ban on travel from countries with high levels of coronavirus infections

 

Preprint: Characterization of the emerging B.1.621 variant of interest of SARS-CoV-2