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Hong Kong says patients with COVID-19 Mu variant came from U.S., Colombia

Hong Kong says patients with COVID-19 Mu variant came from U.S., Colombia
Experts have said the Mu strain seems to be more resistant to vaccines and possibly more transmissible than other variants. Image courtesy CDC

Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Health authorities in Hong Kong said Friday that they have seen three new cases involving the Mu coronavirus variant -- a strain that experts say could possibly be more infectious and vaccine-resistant than Delta.

The island's Center for Health Protection announced the cases, which it said had infected three people from Colombia and the United States.

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The Mu variant -- which the World Health Organization has called a variant of interest -- has now been discovered in South American countries, the United States and Europe. It was first discovered in Colombia in January.

"As of today it still represents a very small fraction of viruses from COVID-19 patients detected worldwide, it would appear to me that Delta definitely has an advantage as far as transmissibility is concerned," University of Hong Kong microbiologist Dr. Siddharth Sridhar told RTHK.

Among the three cases is a 26-year-old woman who traveled to Hong Kong from the United States, officials said.

Experts have said the Mu strain seems to be more resistant to vaccines and is possibly more contagious. Other coronavirus variants include Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta.

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Officials say more than 55% of Hong Kong residents are fully vaccinated. Government figures show the Chinese territory has recorded about 12,000 cases to date.

The Delta coronavirus variant, which is more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain, has fueled a resurgence of cases and deaths worldwide.

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