British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Dec 04, 2021

COVID-19: Mu variant was previously identified in VI- Dr Georges

COVID-19: Mu variant was previously identified in VI- Dr Georges

Acting Chief Medical Officer in the Virgin Islands (VI), Dr Ronald E. Georges says the now concerning ‘Mu’ variant of the COVID-19 virus was previously confirmed in the VI long before it became a variant of interest.

Mu variant is the fifth coronavirus variant of interest being monitored by the World Health Organisation and accounts for most cases in Colombia, Chile, and Peru.

Speaking during a special GIS report broadcast on September 7, 2021, Dr Georges said as more information becomes available on the variant, it becomes a variant of interest or concern.

Classification as variant of interest & concern


He said information such as the variant’s reaction to vaccination, reaction to prior infection, and whether the variant can become immune to vaccination are all factors that classify it as concerning.

“Is it now able to displace the variants in that population? Is it looking like it is going to do that? Is it causing more severe disease?” are all questions Dr Georges said affects classification and would have the ability to impact how the pandemic plays out.

He said as variants become a variant of concern, more information is collected and the public health response changes.

Dr Georges said for example, the Delta variant of the virus was able to infiltrate populations and replace existing variants of the virus hence its classification as a variant of concern.

Mu variant is the fifth coronavirus variant of interest being monitored by the World Health Organization and accounts for most cases in Colombia, Chile, and Peru.


Mu variant being monitored by VI authorities


In the VI, Dr Georges said the Mu variant is now on the radar of public health officials despite the variant making up only about 0.1% of current infections worldwide.

“At this point for us, it really for us to be interested, to be on the lookout and to continue to be vigilant to see what additional information comes up about it,” Dr Georges underscored.

He said policies like adherence to the public health measure and vaccination measures will not change, as those are the tools available to fight the pandemic.

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