Lambda COVID-19 strain: Earlier this week, the World Health Organisation announced that ‘Lambda’, a new COVID-19 strain was found in Peru. This strain was first detected in August last year and accounts for about 81 per cent of the cases reported since April in the country. This variant is now prevalent in 29 countries, mostly in South America, where it is believed to have originated. Due to its prevalence, it has now been termed a ‘variant of interest’.
10 things we know about the Lambda COVID-19 strain
- The WHO added Lambda COVID-19 strain to its list of ‘variants of interest’ on Tuesday (June 15). The agency is monitoring more than 50 different Coronavirus variants. However, not all of them are a threat to the public.
- The WHO reported that the Lambda lineage carries mutations in the spike protein. This could have an impact on its transmissibility.
- The mutations of the variant can increase its transmissibility or strengthen its resistance to antibodies.
- The variant was also reported in Chile, where it accounts for 32 per cent of all submitted sequences in the preceding 60 days.
- Due to the increased genomic surveillance, this variant of interest has been detected in other neighbouring countries like Ecuador and Argentina.
- Evidence regarding the Lambda strain is limited and more studies are required to understand it better, stated Dr Maria Van Kerkhove.
- Meanwhile the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classified the Delta-19 Coronavirus strain as a ‘variant of concern’. It was first identified in India.
- Earlier it was only a ‘variant of interest’ but its status was changed to ‘variant of concern’ on May 10 keeping in mind its high transmissibility, among other factors. It accounts for approximately 9.9 per centÂ of all Coronavirus cases found in the United States.
- The other ‘variants of concern’ identified by CDC include B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), B.1.427 (Epsilon), and B.1.429 (Epsilon) COVID-19 variants.
- However, till date, no variant of serious consequence has been found in the United States.