Mu variant of Covid already found in Hong Kong

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said on Friday that Hong Kong has recorded three Covid infections involving the Mu variant which has been newly listed by the World Health Organisation as a “variant of interest”.

The CHP said the patients in question had arrived from Colombia, where the variant was first discovered, and the United States.

University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung had called on the authorities to make cases of the Mu variant public, saying it’s not yet known whether it is even more infectious than Delta, which is raging in various parts of the world.

Another microbiologist from the university, Siddharth Sridhar, told RTHK that it will take time to analyse how transmissible Mu is.

“As of today it still represents a very small fraction of viruses from Covid-19 patients detected worldwide, it would appear to me that Delta definitely has an advantage as far as transmissibility is concerned,” he said.

But Sridhar said vaccines should still be able to prevent severe symptoms caused by Mu and the variant is “not something to panic about”.

“It is very likely that it is going to follow a similar pattern to previous variants in terms of vaccines being less protective against symptomatic infection but still very good for severe infection, so I don’t expect the Mu variant to be significantly different to the other variants that we have seen so far.”