WLWT: Mu COVID-19 variant: What to know about new strain in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana

UC expert says Delta variant may maintain dominance amoung COVID-19 strains

The Mu COVID-19 variant has been added to the World Health Organization's watchlist as a "variant of interest" having been found in 45 countries around the world and all 50 United States.

“It means that they’re watching it closely to see if it’s going to be one that causes more problems for people,” Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine told WLWT-TV.

Fichtenbaum says it's the nature of viruses to mutate in an effort to stay alive. 

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine/Photo/Joe Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand

“It’s survival of the fittest. So, whichever one can outcompete the other virus. Which one can grow faster? Which one can be transmitted quicker, and which one is spreading to more people?” Fichtenbaum said.

Mu, which was first discovered in Colombia earlier this year, has the characteristics of a variant that could be resistant to vaccines.

Researchers are watching to see if Mu is able to quickly double its cases like Delta did when becoming the dominant variant.

“My suspicion is, it’s probably not going to be a variant of great of concern because Delta has a strong foothold, but time will tell,” Fichtenbaum said.

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Fichtenbaum was also on a panel of experts taking calls from listeners of WVXU's Cincinnati Edition. Listen to that here

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