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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Sept. 8, 2021: The Mu COVID-19 variant, identified by the World Health Organization last week as the latest strain of the virus, is now in the Caribbean.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday disclosed that five cases of the variant have now been confirmed on the island.

“On review of sequencing results for samples sent from St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the COVID-19 IMPACT Project Lab through the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), five (5) cases of the Mu variant were detected between July 19th, 2021, and August 9th, 2021,” the Ministry of Health said in a press statement Tuesday night.

All cases were detected within the community as contacts of other positive cases and from persons seeking healthcare, the Ministry added.

Since March 2020, the country has recorded 2,389 cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths. There are currently 65 active cases.

“In view of the confirmed presence of the Mu variant of interest in the community and the increased risk of infection and subsequent transmission of COVID-19 posed by the growing incidence of variants of concern in persons entering St. Vincent and the Grenadines, strict compliance with all protocols and recommendations is strongly recommended. These include the effective use of masks, physical distancing, hand sanitizing and immunization with available vaccines,” the ministry added.

The Mu variant is the fifth coronavirus variant of interest being monitored by the organization. Stuart Ray, a professor of medicine at John Hopkins University, said the variant accounts for most cases in Colombia, Chile and Peru but only some cases in the U.S.

Mu may be able to evade existing antibodies, including those from vaccines. In addition to delta and mu, the three other variants being tracked by WHO are alpha, beta and gamma. Each is named for a letter in the Greek alphabet.

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