COVID-19 Mu variant detected in LA County, health department reports

The highly contagious Mu COVID-19 variant has been detected in Los Angeles County.

According to Public Health, 167 cases have been identified between June 19 and Aug. 21, with most cases reported in July.

The Mu variant, also known as B.1.621, is described as being highly contagious and potentially able to evade vaccines.

The Mu variant was first discovered in Colombia in January, and it has since been detected in 39 countries, according to the World Health Organization. 

RELATED: COVID-19 ‘mu’ strain: WHO tracks latest ‘variant of interest’

Health officials say the Mu variant is known to have key mutations linked to greater transmissibility and the potential to evade antibodies.

Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.

According to LA County Health, more studies are needed to determine whether the Mu variant is more contagious, more deadly or more resistant to vaccine and treatments than other COVID-19 strains.

The Delta variant remains the dominant COVID-19 strain in LA county, with Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer saying Thursday it represents nearly all of the cases that undergo the sequencing needed to identify specific viral mutations. Delta is labeled a "variant of concern" by the WHO. While the Mu variant is labeled as a "variant of interest".

On Friday, LA County health reported 37 new deaths and 2,673 new cases of COVID-19.

Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.