Felix was feeling a bit under the weather today. His nose was full of sniffles and he had a headache too. Verum and Scorch were taking care of him while Orak was reading out a nice story to cheer him up. Verum made a bowl of steaming hot soup. Scorch brought it to Felix because she could keep it hot. After all, her name was ‘Scorch’.
Right at that moment, Verum’s crystal ball began spinning round and round. Felix perked up and said, “I think some news will distract me from my cold.”
“Okay, then you shall have it,” said Verum, peering into her crystal ball.
“Let me put this book away,” said Orak, eagerly awaiting the news.
“Uh-oh, today we have Covid-19 news,” said Verum, “The World Health Organization (WHO) has begun monitoring a new variant of Covid-19. It’s called the Mu variant. And it was first discovered in January this year in Colombia, a country in South America.”
“What is a variant, Orak?” said Felix.
“Most viruses change a little every time they move from person to person. Most of these changes don’t amount to much. So was the case with SARS-CoV-2 or the coronavirus. But then, changes or mutations started taking place in a part of the virus called the spike protein. These mutations change the way the virus behaves,” explained Orak, “For instance, the Alpha variant discovered in the United Kingdom was more transmissible. The Delta variant from India was both more transmissible and could evade antibodies.”
Verum added, “The Alpha variant is present in 193 countries while the Delta one is present in 170 countries.”
“What about the Mu variant?” said Scorch, “How does it behave differently? And is it present in countries other than Colombia?”
“The Mu variant, or B.1.621 as it is scientifically called, has several mutations. Scientists say these could help it dodge vaccines,” said Verum, “Its presence has been detected in other South American countries and even Europe. That’s why the WHO has declared it to be a ‘variant of interest’.”
Orak explained, “This means it is suspected to escape the protection the various Covid-19 vaccines offer. Verum, please keep us updated.”