NEW YORK - Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and now Mu.
Mu is another strain of the coronavirus and it has arrived in the United States.
"What we know and what has been concerning is that this variant shares eight mutations with other variants of concern that we've seen beta and delta in particular, which seem to increase transmissibility," says Dr. Stephanie Silvera, epidemiologist, and professor of public health at Montclair State University.
Mu has been identified in 49 states and the District of Columbia. California has the highest number of confirmed cases. Dr. Silvera says mutations in viruses are neither new nor unexpected.
"What happens with any virus is when any time it has a host body, there's a possibility for it to mutate and it's more likely to mutate, becomes more transmissible. The virus wants to survive," she said.
The strain was first identified in Colombia back in January.
Doctor Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, says this new variant is not an immediate threat. The world health organization classifying it as a "variant of interest."
As of now, Mu accounts for less than 1% of U.S. cases, however, it is showing early signs that it could be resistant to vaccines, but health experts say more research is needed.
"There is some evidence in lab studies with the Pfizer vaccine that it did reduce efficacy. We have to recognize that those, again, were very early studies, they’ve yet to be peer-reviewed, and that's in a lab, and so the lab is a little bit different than a real-life experience with individuals," said Dr. Silvera.
But what is certain the doctor says are vaccines, which remain key to preventing new mutations.