‘Lambda’ Covid-19 strain: WHO identifies new variant in 29 countries

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on June 16, 2021 that a new COVID-19 variant has been spreading in 29 countries, notably in South America.

The COVID-19 variant, named as ‘Lambda’, was first identified in Peru, according to WHO. Earlier this week, WHO declared the Lambda variant as a global ‘Variant of Interest’ which is believed to be originated from South America.

According to WHO, the Lambda Covid-19 variant was first detected in August last year and is spreading rapidly in Peru with 81% of the covid-19 cases reported since April in the country were associated with this variant.

Chile also reported the presence of the new variant where it accounts for 32% of all submitted sequences in the preceding 60 days.

Also Read: Covid-19 Delta variant likely to become dominant strain in United States

The Lambda variant was also reported in other countries in South America, such as Argentina and Ecuador.

As per WHO, the mutations present in the Lambda Covid-19 variant might increase its transmission or further strengthen the virus’s resistance to the antibodies.

The ‘Variant of Interest’ is not a threat to the general public like the ‘Variant of Concern’ which is a major threat as it spreads at a faster pace and infects a large number of people.

For example, the Delta Covid-19 variant spreading in India has been classified as a “variant of concern” by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this week.

As per the US CDC statement, apart from the Delta Covid-19 variant (B.1.617.2), other strains classified as ‘variants of concern are the B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), B.1.427 (Epsilon), and B.1.429 (Epsilon) Covid-19 variants.

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