The World Health Organization has yet to classify the Lambda variant as a “variant of concern.”
The longer the pandemic continues, the more the public witnesses more iterations of the coronavirus. This is why news of new strains, like the Delta and Lambda variants, are becoming more apparent these days.
In recent weeks, officials and experts have continued to watch the Delta variant closely. This comes after it has extended its reach across 85 nations. The World Health Organization even deems the strain as the “most transmissible” among all.
As the world remains keen on the variant, which first emerged in India, experts are now monitoring a new strain. This is the Lambda variant of the coronavirus, according to CNBC.
All about the Lambda variant
The Lambda variant or C.37 lineage is the latest addition to the WHO’s list of COVID-19 variants of interest. It is rapidly spreading across South America, particularly in Peru, where experts first detected the strain.
The health agency reportedly noted in its report on June 15 that the variant had reached 29 countries and territories. Although it has a stronger presence in Peru, the prevalence has increased over time in some parts and regions of the continent. These include the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Israel, and Zimbabwe.
Accordingly, the World Health Organization stressed out that they would carry out “more investigations” into the new coronavirus strain. These comprise how it compares to the other existing variants.
More dangerous than the Delta variant?
While experts are monitoring the Lambda variant, there is reportedly limited evidence on its overall impact. Even so, some have already warned that the C.37 strain could be more infectious than the Delta variant, according to Science Focus.
The publication said that a pre-print analysis of the strain’s spike proteins showed a “two-fold increase in infectivity” due to the L452Q mutation. But, the study has yet to be peer-reviewed.
As for its resistance to COVID-19 vaccines, researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine reportedly tested the efficacy of mRNA vaccines against the variant. These jabs are the ones from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.
There was a “partial resistance to neutralization” as per the results. But, experts countered that this is “not likely to cause a significant loss of protection against infection” among vaccinated people.
Earlier in June, the World Health Organization also shared its conclusions about the new COVID-19 variant. As reported, it carries a “number of mutations with suspected phenotypic implications.”
These indications include a “potential increased transmissibility” or a “possible increased resistance to neutralizing antibodies.”
Remains as a “variant of interest,” as per WHO
Amid all the buzz surrounding the C.37 variant, the World Health Organization has yet to include it on the list of COVID-19 variants of concern. It is still “one step below” to become one, like the Alpha and Delta mutations.
In a press conference last week, the health agency’s technical lead on COVID-19 explained when the Lambda variant would become a variant of concern. Maria Van Kerkhove stated that this would happen if the strain has “demonstrated pathways of increased transmissibility,” increased severity, or “if it has some kind of impact” on the overall countermeasures.
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