Delta COVID Variant Could Still Dominate Despite Mu Study Showing Antibody Resistance

© appledesign/Getty A stock image shows a lab technician at work with samples. A Mu variant study looked at how resistant the variant may be to antibodies.

A preliminary study highlighting the potential resistance of the Mu COVID-19 variant to antibodies has been released as scientists continue to keep an eye on the mutant virus.

The study, published by researchers at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo and other Japanese institutions, compared Mu to other variants of COVID-19 to observe how they reacted to human defences, either by natural immunity due to a previous infection, or to vaccine-induced immunity.

To do this, the researchers created a pseudovirus—a sort of model copy—of various COVID-19 variants and subjected them to the antibodies of 18 people who had either had COVID-19 before or had been vaccinated.

They found that the Mu variant was even more resistant to the serum antibodies than all the other currently recognized variants, including Beta, which the study said “was thought to be the most resistant variant to date.”

However, there are a couple of details to be noted.

The study is a pre-print, meaning it has not yet undergone the rigorous scrutiny of other scientists that is required before it can be published in a medical journal. Pre-print studies should therefore be read with caution.

Secondly, the study was small, according to Dr Davey Smith, head of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California San Diego, who was not involved in the study.

He told Newsweek: “It looks to be scientifically rigorous; however, the number of people who had their blood tested, 18 total, is rather small. I bet the journal will ask for more samples tested.”

Another limitation is that the observations are from pseudoviruses as opposed to live viruses, said Kei Sato, a professor at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo and the study’s lead author.

He told Newsweek that validation using live viruses would be important in future investigation, though he added that pseudovirus data is still physiologically relevant.

What the study doesn’t mean is that Mu is about to overtake Delta as the dominant virus in the U.S., for example. “We just showed the sensitivity of Mu variant,” said Sato. “We neither talked about Mu’s transmissibility nor say that the Mu will outcompete Delta.”

What’s more, the resistance of a variant to antibodies is not the only factor that allows it to proliferate. “We already know that Delta has out-competed Beta,” said Smith, “so the virus that ‘wins’ is not necessarily the one that is least neutralizable.”

Crucially, the study also doesn’t mean that COVID-19 vaccines are not effective against Mu, Sato stressed. He told Newsweek that vaccines would still be effective even against Mu despite its apparent resistance.

Mu was only added to the World Health Organization’s Variant of Interest (VOI) list late last month, and data is still coming together .

Results in a laboratory do not always reflect real life, said Dr Francesca L. Beaudoin, Interim Chair of Epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health.

She said the preliminary results from the Mu study support further research on Mu as a VOI, but that it would be too early to base policy decisions off of.

“We don’t know if reduced response to antibodies in an artificial laboratory setting is correlated with clinical disease,” she told Newsweek. “Lastly, this was a small study and sometimes results observed in a small sample are due to chance findings.”

Related Articles

  • Joe Biden Faces an Avalanche of Vaccine Mandate Lawsuits
  • Have Vaccines Ever Been Mandated in History? Biden COVID Shot Plans Could Affect 100m People
  • Moderna Combo Single Dose COVID/Flu Booster: What You Need to Know
  • The Vaccine Mandate Assault on the Common Good | Opinion
  • Nasal Spray Company Pushes CDC, FDA to Accept Its Claims to Help Treat COVID
  • Biden Calls Out Conspiracy Theorists, ‘Bullies’ DeSantis and Abbott in COVID-19 Address
  • Where Mu Originated As Scientists Keep Close Eye on Mutated COVID Variant
  • Delta COVID Variant May ‘Squelch’ Mu in ‘Survival of the Fittest’ Struggle

Start your unlimited Newsweek trial

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


'The Only Exit': Where Soldiers Are Dying After Sexual Assaults

The father of Master Sgt. Lee Ye-ram, who died by suicide in May after being sexually assaulted, looks at her photo at a mourning altar in a military hospital near ... Read more »

FDA advisers unanimously recommend booster doses of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine

Vaccine advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously Friday to recommend a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine at least two months after people get the ... Read more »

CNN's Kasie Hunt Reveals She Had Surgery to Remove Brain Tumor: ‘A Really Scary Thing'

CNN’s Kasie Hunt has revealed that she had surgery last week to remove a small brain tumor. © Provided by Mediaite Kasie Hunt CNN “I had headaches a few years ... Read more »

FDA advisory panel recommends 2nd J&J shot for those 18 and over

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted Friday to recommend a second Johnson & Johnson shot for emergency use authorization. The vote in favor was unanimous, with panel members ... Read more »

Amy Robach on Being 'Forever Bonded' with Robin Roberts Who Urged Her to Have Life-Saving Mammogram

Amy Robach is reflecting on her special relationship with Robin Roberts, eight years after the Good Morning America co-anchor convinced her to have her first mammogram. The 60-year-old urged her ... Read more »

CDC data confirms J&J is the worst-performing COVID-19 vaccine in the US - but being unvaccinated is far more dangerous

© Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Johnson & Johnson’s one shot COVID-19 vaccine isn’t performing as well as two shot mRNA vaccines. Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images The ... Read more »

Skin Tags: Causes And Treatments

Take a good look at your birthday suit and you’ll probably find small, harmless growths known as skin tags. Though common and nothing to worry about, you should point them ... Read more »

Another Study Finds Pfizer, Moderna Shots Effective Against COVID Variants

FRIDAY, Oct. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines protect against a number of coronavirus variants, including highly contagious Delta, another study confirms. © Provided by ... Read more »

Internet Sides With Neighbor Who Let Teenager Spend Night in Jail to Teach Him a Lesson

When is it okay to involve the police in neighborly disputes? An individual, known as @Storm_Lady on Reddit, posed this question in a post on the “Am I the A**hole” ... Read more »

What led to Bill Clinton's hospitalization? Warning signs of the common infection

Experts say when treated in a timely manner, prognosis for urologic infections is excellent. Read more »

Here's How Zinc Can Benefit Your Skin—And 4 Products to Try

© Provided by Health TED + CHELSEA CAVANAUGH What is zinc? © TED + CHELSEA CAVANAUGH It’s the star in just about every mineral sunscreen, but zinc’s skin-boosting benefits make ... Read more »

This Parsnip Purée Is the Ultimate Healthy Mashed Potato Dupe

© Provided by Shape Caitlin Bensel Unpopular opinion: Mashed potatoes are overhyped. Oftentimes, the tubers aren’t given the TLC they need to shine (think: a thorough whipping, a few generous ... Read more »

Farming and cooking coming to Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the fans are going to lose it

© Provided by GamesRadar Animal Crossing: New Horizon update 2.0 features Animal Crossing: New Horizons is getting farming and cooking as part of the huge update coming this November.  Originally ... Read more »

Father Prohibited From Seeing Child Unless He Receives COVID-19 Vaccine

A New York City judge has ruled that a father in a custody dispute cannot visit his daughter unless he gets vaccinated for COVID-19 or agrees to get tested weekly. ... Read more »

Covid breakthrough as dose of cheap blood-thinning medication reduces risk of death

The globally available drug heparin has been “confirmed” to lower the risk of death in moderately ill patients, according to a new study. Researchers at St Michael’s Hospital have tested ... Read more »

F.D.A. Issues Voluntary Guidelines to Reduce Salt Intake

© Floriana – Getty Images New voluntary guidelines from the Food and Drug administration aim to cut Americans’ daily sodium intake by 12% in the next two and a half ... Read more »

Johnson & Johnson talc powder spinoff files for bankruptcy

A bankruptcy move from Johnson & Johnson could stall any talcum powder settlements for the thousands of families that have sued the company for billions of dollars in damages in ... Read more »

The FDA could authorize the first COVID-19 pill in December - here's who may be eligible

© Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Getty Images Pills seen with the Merck logo in the background. Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Getty Images The FDA will meet to discuss Merck’s COVID-19 pill in late November, which means ... Read more »

Tia Mowry Slams the Post-Pregnancy Pressures of 'Snapback' Culture

© Provided by Shape Getty Images Tia Mowry isn’t here for the pressure on new moms to “bounce back” to their pre-baby bodies. In a series of photos recently shared ... Read more »

Bill Clinton is reportedly hospitalized for sepsis after suffering a UTI. Here's what that means.

© Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks during the funeral service of the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) at Ebenezer Baptist Church on July 30, 2020 in ... Read more »

FDA advisory group recommends 2nd J&J shot

The second dose would be offered at least 2 months after the first. Read more »

New CDC data shows the risk of dying from Covid-19 is 11 times higher for unvaccinated adults than for fully vaccinated adults

Throughout August, the risk of dying from Covid-19 was 11 times higher for unvaccinated adults than for fully vaccinated adults in the United States, according to new data published by ... Read more »

A Johnson & Johnson booster shot just got closer to reality, as the FDA's expert panel unanimously supports an extra dose

© Eduardo Sanz/Europa Press via Getty Images A vial of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. Eduardo Sanz/Europa Press via Getty Images After an afternoon of debate, an FDA panel voted ... Read more »

Opinion: For families like mine, the social services in Biden's budget proposal are a choice between life and death

In the fall of 2019, my husband and I had to decide whether we could afford for him to stay alive. © Courtesy Rachael Scarborough King Rachael Scarborough King, with ... Read more »

What Is Sepsis? The Serious Illness Former President Bill Clinton Has Been Hospitalized With

Former President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized for a urinary tract infection that lead to sepsis. “He is on the mend, in good spirits, and incredibly thankful,” a spokesperson wrote. ... Read more »

COVID: German infectious disease chief receives death threats

© Provided by Germany’s coronavirus restrictions, like elsewhere in the world, have caused widespread public protest Lothar Wieler, the head of Germany’s infectious disease control agency, the Robert Koch ... Read more »

Brian Laundrie's Parents Are Revealing Big Clue He's Still Alive, Petito Family Says

Gabby Petito’s parents used an emotional interview with Australian TV show 60 Minutes to criticize both Brian Laundrie and his family’s response to his disappearance. © Utah Police Brian Laundrie( ... Read more »

Humans Have Brain Shortcut That Lets Us React to Bad Smells in the Blink of an Eye

© Dima Berlin/Getty A stock photo shows a woman smelling a piece of fruit. The human brain has a sort of shortcut for detecting bad smells, a new study suggests. ... Read more »

Can a Daith Piercing Cure Migraines?

© Provided by Shape Getty Images – Design: Alex Sandoval Jillian Bershtein, 44, was diagnosed with migraines when she was in her twenties. She knows one’s impending when she feels ... Read more »

Woman diagnosed with breast cancer at 26 urges others to 'listen to your body'

Kelsey Summers was getting dressed on a fall morning last year when she felt a lump in her breast. She was 26, an age when most women wouldn’t think about ... Read more »

Allergy Tests: What to Know

© (Getty Images) One young man sneezing in blooming nature on sunny spring day Results from some medical tests are easy to interpret. If your throat is swabbed for a ... Read more »

Mark Hoppus Shares New Surgery Photos After He's Declared Cancer-Free

© Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia Blink-182 star Mark Hoppus has shared photos of himself undergoing minor surgery, two weeks after publicly revealing that he’s now cancer-free. Blink-182 star Mark ... Read more »

College students struggle with mental health as pandemic drags on

College students struggle with mental health as pandemic drags on People handed flowers to strangers on campus this week, and wrote encouraging notes in chalk. Students played with baby goats ... Read more »

New Guidelines for Adults 60 and Older Taking Aspirin for Heart Disease Prevention

© Grace Cary – Getty Images New suggestions for those over 60 taking aspirin to prevent heart disease were released by the United States Preventive Services Task Force in a ... Read more »

What You Need to Know About Microneedling for Hair Loss

© Provided by Shape Getty Images After trying countless shampoos that claim to thicken your fine locks, serums designed to combat your excessive shedding, and even outlandish at-home hair growth ... Read more »

Fungal disease on the rise in West possibly tied to changing climate patterns: Experts

Over the last several years, cases of valley fever, a disease common to the arid West, have been steadily creeping up. Between 2014 and 2018, valley fever cases tripled in ... Read more »

'Emotionally, physically, mentally tired': Nurses say morale has hit a pandemic low

1 / 2’Emotionally, physically, mentally tired’: Nurses say morale has hit a pandemic low Melanie Mead, an emergency department nurse, remembers the first time she drove the seven minutes to ... Read more »

New Atari VCS Review: Retro Tech Meets Geek Chic

Among other things, the year 1977 marked the beginning of (in my humble opinion) the two greatest entertainment franchises: Star Wars and Atari. Needless to say, the former is alive ... Read more »

Spanish court allows extradition of late Venezuela leader Chavez's aide to US

MADRID, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Spain’s High Court approved on Friday the extradition of a Venezuelan woman who was part of the late President Hugo Chavez’s inner circle to the ... Read more »