Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 3) — The Philippines remains free of the new variant of interest (VOI) of the coronavirus called Mu, according to an official of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC).
“We ran back on our database, we have sequenced more than 12,000 samples, and we have not detected a single case of the Mu variant,” PGC Executive Director Cynthia Saloma said during a virtual briefing Friday.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the Mu variant or B.1.621 as a VOI.
A VOI is designated as a variant of concern (VOC) if it has been proven to be associated with increased transmissibility and virulence, and/or decrease in effectiveness of vaccines and medical treatments.
The new variant was first detected in Colombia in January and has the same behavior as the Beta variant.
The WHO said samples with the Mu variant were “consistently” increasing in Colombia and Ecuador.
The Mu variant has already been detected in 42 countries, Saloma said.
While it has yet to reach the Philippines, Saloma said local health authorities will always be “on standby and monitor the entry of this variant.”