The Lambda variant (C.37), which was discovered in Lima, Peru in December 2020, has been identified in 29 countries or territories, with South America having the highest case.
The World Health Organization listed Lambda as a ‘variant of interest’ on June 14 due to its widespread harm in South America.
“Lambda has been associated with substantive rates of community transmission in multiple countries, with rising prevalence over time concurrent with increased COVID-19 incidence. The earliest sequenced samples were reported from Peru in August 2020,” the World Health Organization reported.
“Elevated prevalence has been noted particularly in South America in countries such as Chile (31% overall prevalence among submitted sequences since first detected in this location to date), Peru (9%), Ecuador (8%), and Argentina (3%),” they added.
Authorities in Peru reported that 81% of COVID-19 cases sequenced since April 2021 were associated with Lambda 3.
The virus has been transmitted to neighboring Chile, where the Lambda variant is responsible for roughly one-third of new Covid-19 cases. Experts, on the other hand, disagree that Lambda is more aggressive than others, claiming that this variant needs to be examined in-depth to fully understand its high infection rate.
The World Health Organization is studying the Lambda variant and if the institution sees that it is more transmissible, is causing more severe disease, or is resistant, or resilient to the currently available therapeutics or vaccines, they would then decide to call it a variant of concern.
As of writing, 4 official SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern and 4 SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Interest were already listed by the WHO.
Effectivity of the available vaccine against the Lambda variant
A study conducted in Chile found signs that Lambda’s unique spike mutations could help it slip past the body’s immune response.
“Our results indicate that mutations present in the spike protein of the Lambda variant of interest confer increased infectivity and immune escape from neutralizing antibodies elicited by CoronaVac,” the researchers said.
Researchers and experts are still conducting an in-depth study and follow-up that is needed to determine more about the new COVID-19 Lambda variant.
Source: https://www.who.int/en/activities/tracking-SARS-CoV-2-variants/, https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/weekly-epidemiological-update-on-covid-19—15-june-2021, https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.06.28.21259673v1.full.pdf