The delta variant is still dominant, but officials and doctors are keeping an eye out for what could be next.
The mu variant was labeled a “variant of interest” last month by the World Health Organization.
Scientists have discovered that it may be more transmissible than other forms of the coronavirus and could even evade antibodies.
“This doesn’t mean it’s something that’s going to absolutely blow through our vaccines. It’s something we have to keep an eye on,” said Dr. Anne Rimion of the UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health.
Mu case numbers are currently low — L.A. had 167 as of Sept. 3, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health — but Dr. Anthony Fauci said officials “always pay attention to variants,” including mu.
“We’re paying attention to it. We take everything like that seriously,” Fauci said.
Delta still accounts for as much as 99% of all new cases in the U.S., but that could change, doctors say.
“It’s wily, just like all viruses,” said Dr. Terese Hammond of St. John’s Health Center. “We need to be mindful the virus is changing. It evolves.”