Health

COVID-19: Lambda variant found in South America now a ‘variant of interest’

The variant was first isolated in Peru in August 2020, but has spread to 29 countries since then

 
By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 18 June 2021

The latest variant the novel coronavirus in the watchlist of the World Health Organization is Lambda. It was first isolated in Peru in August 2020, but has spread to 29 countries since then.

This prompted the WHO on June 16, 2021 to announce Lambda as a variant of interest (VOI). The variant has spread fast across South American countries, particulalry in Peru, where 81 per cent of cases since April 2021 have been linked to this variant.

Chile reported that 32 per cent of all submitted sequences in the last 60 days were of the Lambda variant. Argentina and Ecuador have also reported the presence of this variant.

The COVID-19 cases reported due to this variant outnumbered the cases of Alpha variant, which is a global variant of concern. The variant carries mutations that might increase transmissibility or strengthen the virus's resistance to antibodies.

According to the WHO, evidence about this variant is limited. Further studies are needed to understand the variant to control its spread, it had said.


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