The new variant of the coronavirus first detected in Colombia and baptized as “Mu” was the cause of the deadliest wave of the pandemic in the country, reported the health authorities.
“Indeed (Mu) is the predominant variant in Colombia and it was the one that maintained the third peak. During all that time that we have done genomic surveillance, (and) more or less 60% of the deaths that we sequence are of that lineage”, Marcela Mercado, director of the National Institute of Health, told RCN Radio.
Between April and June of this year, infections and deaths reached record numbers, and brought the Colombian hospital system to the brink of collapse.
Variant B.1.621, according to scientific nomenclature, was classified as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization (WHO) and appeared for the first time on the Colombian Atlantic coast (north) in January.
“We already find it in more than 43 countries and it has shown high contagiousness,” Mercado warned.
According to the WHO, the new lineage has mutations that could indicate a risk of resistance to vaccines, although additional studies are needed to determine this.
Colombia overcame the most critical phase of the pandemic, but registers figures of around 100 deaths and 2,000 daily infections.
Mercado attributes the relative improvement to the vaccination campaign that already protects 29% of the 50 million inhabitants in the country, although he asked not to lower his guard.
“We may have a peak in October, because there are still susceptible (people) who can sustain an outbreak,” he warned.
Delta, alpha and gamma variants also circulate in the country.
The first case of covid-19 was detected in March of last year and the government immediately ordered a strict confinement that lasted until September.
With the collapse of the economy, the measures were gradually relaxed. A first peak of the pandemic arrived in June 2020 and the second, in January 2021.
Colombia is the fourth country with the most deaths per million inhabitants in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the fifth in infections, according to an AFP count.
Since March 6, 2020, the Ministry of Health has registered more than 125,000 deaths and 4.9 million infections.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.