Experts say while it isn’t a big threat, the new variant is worth researcher’s attention.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – We are learning more about a new COVID-19 variant, called the Mu Variant. One local expert says the new strain is very different from the Delta Variant.

Right now Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants are a focus in the United States according to this list created by the CDC, and the Mu Variant could become more prominent in the next couple months and be added to this list, but one local expert says right now it isn’t a concern.

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University of South Florida Public Health expert, Dr. Michael Teng, says the new COVID-19 variant, Mu, is starting to pop up in countries around the world, including the United States.

“So there is one country that has a lot of Mu and that’s Colombia. It’s been the dominant variant there for a while. Florida has direct flights to Colombia, I expect we get importations of Mu once in a while for the next couple months,” said Dr. Teng.

He says while it isn’t a big threat, the new variant is worth researcher’s attention.

“They’ve found something that opens your eyes. In this case, Mu has been the dominant variant in a particular country, Colombia, so it’s worth keeping track of,” said Dr. Teng.

He says variant Mu is not as transmissible as the Delta Variant.

“Delta’s transmissibility is just going to win out over, well right now, any variant we know of,” said Dr. Teng.

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But it is a little better at getting past an immune system response, but not enough to make a difference.

“It’s not going to be able to evade the immune response from the vaccine,” said Dr. Teng.

He says new variants like Mu are going to continue to form, unless people get vaccinated.

“This is a global pandemic. We need all the people in this country, but we need everybody everywhere to have to immunity so we stop or at least slow down transmission,” said Dr. Teng.

Dr. Teng says although Mu is something to keep an eye on, he doesn’t think it will spread the way Delta has.

“Just because it gets a name doesn’t mean. It’s like tropical storms right? Tropical storms get a name and sometimes they just hang out in the middle of the Atlantic and don’t do anything. Even Larry is a hurricane. It’s not bothering anybody, but when you have Ida, you have to pay attention to that,” said Dr. Teng.

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Dr. Teng says both the University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital are researching the Mu Variant and other new variants that form.