‘Deadlier than Delta’: Lambda variant detected in over 30 countries
Published: 03:34 PM, 5 July 2021 Updated: 05:15 PM, 5 July 2021
Lambda, a new variant of Covid-19, that is believed 'vaccine-resistant' and more dangerous than other variants including the Delta, has been detected in more than 30 countries in the world.
World Health Organization (WHO) classified the strain as a C.37 which was first detected late last year in Peru, and has since spread to 27 countries, including the UK.
According to the WHO, Lambda variant accounted for 82 percent of new Covid-19 cases in May and June in Peru, which country has the world’s highest coronavirus mortality rate. The variant is also being found in one in three confirmed cases in neighbouring Chile.
Lambda, the ‘deadlier than other’ strain, is reportedly spreading hastily in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico.
The strain puzzled experts with its unusual mutations as available data referred to the strain as more transmissible than the Alpha, Delta, and Gamma variants.
In addition, experts also feared that COVID vaccines may not offer sufficient protection against this strain.
A report quoting the researchers from the University of Chile cited that ‘Data show for the first time that mutations present in the spike protein of the Lambda variant confer escape to neutralising antibodies and increased infectivity.’
Meanwhile, a Jairo Méndez Rico, an adviser on emerging viral diseases at the Pan-American Health Organization said, “At the moment there’s no evidence to suggest it’s more aggressive than other variants... It’s possible that it has a higher rate of contagion but more work needs to be done on it.”
In June, the global health body named Lambda as the seventh “variant of interest” so far. They believe such strains are less of a threat than its four “variants of concern” - Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta originally detected in the UK, South Africa, Brazil and India respectively - but says they still need to be monitored closely.