The Lambda Variant of the coronavirus is emerging as one of the major causes of transmission of the infection. According to the Malaysian Ministry of Health, it has spread to 30 countries including the UK.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated lambda as a ‘variant of interest’. Six cases of Lambda have been identified in the UK to date, and all have been linked to overseas travel. The earliest documented sample was reported in Peru.
Tracking Coronavirus Variants
According to the WHO, the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has changed over time. The global health body said some of these changes affect the properties of the virus, such as how easily it spreads, the severity of the associated disease, or the performance of vaccines and therapeutic drugs.
The WHO has created a worldwide network of health experts to monitor and assess the development of Sars-CoV-2. Critical amino acid substitutions are identified and countries are informed of changes that may be necessary for this type of response to stop its spread.
The Lambda Variant
This strain was first identified in Peru in December last year. Lambda is the dominant type in the South American country, with 81 percent of specimens found to carry it. This Lambda Variant is usually associated with higher transmissibility and resistance to antibodies, but health experts have said that more data is needed to firmly establish this fact.
Even in the case of vaccines, a preliminary study in Peru claims that the lambda version is able to easily evade the antibodies generated by the CoronaVac vaccine developed by China. However, the study has yet to be reviewed.
Lambda was designated as a “type of interest” by the WHO on 14 June.
Is Lambda the only Variant of Interest?
Absolutely No. The WHO website has also listed Eta (B.1.525), Iota (B.1.526), and Kappa (B.1.617.1) as other variants of interest. Despite emerging in South America and spreading across 30 countries, This new strain has not been declared a variant of interest by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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