"We’re paying attention to it, we take everything like that seriously, but we don’t consider it an immediate threat right now," Fauci said Thursday during a White House COVID response news briefing.
Earlier this week, mu, known by scientists as B.1.621, was added to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) "of interest" list of variants. The variant was first identified in Colombia and has been confirmed in at least 39 countries, according to the WHO.
"This variant has a constellation of mutations that suggests that it would evade certain antibodies, not only monoclonal antibodies, but vaccine- and convalescent serum-induced antibodies," Fauci said. "But there isn’t a lot of clinical data to suggest that, it is mostly laboratory in-vitro data."
"Remember, even when you have variants that do diminish somewhat the efficacy of vaccines, the vaccines still are quite effective against variants of that time," Fauci added in conclusion, telling Americans that health officials were "keeping a very close eye" on what happens with mu.
Fauci also said during the briefing that he "would not at all be surprised" if three doses of vaccine are required for Americans to be fully protected against the coronavirus.
"I must say from my own experience as an immunologist, I would not at all be surprised that the adequate full regimen for vaccination will likely be three doses," Fauci said.
"If it is durable, then you're going to have very likely a three-dose regimen being the routine regimen," Fauci said, adding he would leave it up to other officials to determine how many doses of the vaccine should be taken.