A new strain of COVID-19 has reached Dallas County.
The variant, first detected in Colombia, is not considered a threat yet, according to health officials. However, it is classified as a variant of interest by the World Health Organization, meaning it has considerable transmission within the community or has genetic markers that could cause increased symptom severity or resistance to treatment, like vaccines.
Since its detection in January, the strain has spread to 39 countries before reaching Dallas, the Dallas Morning News reported. So far, only five cases of the Mu variant have been detected in the county, health officials told the newspaper. Not all of the cases were related to travel, indicating some community spread.
Because of Mu’s different genetic makeup compared to other variants, the effectiveness of current vaccines against this specific variant requires extra study. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said current vaccines remain effective against COVID-19 variants with similar characteristics.
Dr. Jeffrey SoRelle, assistant instructor for the department of pathology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, told the Dallas Morning News that the presence of Mu should provide people with more reason to get the vaccine or consider getting a booster shot.
“In this case, you didn’t have as much transmissibility, so it’s not going to spread very much and have immune resistance, but you could have a future one that does,” said SoRelle. “This is just more evidence that it’s a good reason to go ahead and get a booster shot if it’s available to you.”
Read more from the Dallas Morning News here.
In other news:
- President Joe Biden announced new federal requirements last week including that companies with more than 100 employees be vaccinated or conduct weekly tests. Read more from the Dallas Morning News here.
- GeneIQ will provide free COVID-19 vaccines and testing services at select Dallas College and Tarrant County College campuses. The services are open to the public ages 12 and up.For more information, visit GeneIQ’s website.
- Dr. Stormee Williams, vice president and medical director of Network Development and Innovation with Children’s Health, recently answered common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines in a video shared by Dallas ISD.