The COVID-19 mutant of interest recently designated by the Toronto-World Health Organization may have mutations that may increase resistance to neutralizing antibodies, with more cases detected in multiple countries. It is being scrutinized amid concerns.
The newly labeled lambda variant, or C.37, was first detected in Peru as early as August 2020 and was monitored as an alert for some time before the new designation. As of mid-June, this subspecies was detected in 29 countries or regions, showing a particularly high prevalence in South America.
“Lambda is associated with substantial community infection rates in multiple countries, with increasing prevalence over time as the incidence of COVID-19 increases,” said the Global Health Agency. Weekly epidemiological updates Published on June 15th.
“Lambda has many mutations with suspected phenotypic effects, including increased potential transmissibility and increased resistance to neutralizing antibodies.”
WHO currently has limited evidence of what the effects of these mutations mean, and further research is needed to better understand how the spread is contained and how vaccines tolerate the mutants. Said it was necessary.
WHO virologist Jairo Mendez-Rico Talked to Deutsche Welle in Germany So far, there have been no signs that lambda variants are more dangerous or lead to higher mortality.
Track lambdas around the world
Pablo Tsukayama, a virologist at the University of Caetano Heredia in Lima, said it is not surprising that this variant started there and is now well established, given that Peru is struggling to contain a pandemic. Told the broadcaster.
South American countries have experienced More deaths per capita than in any other country Since the beginning of the pandemic, as of July 5, 586 people have died per 100,000. Nearly 89% more than Hungary, the second worst country by the same criteria, with 310.5 deaths per 100,000. Currently, according to Peruvian authorities, more than 80% of new infections sequenced after April in Peru are associated with the Lambda subspecies.
About one-third of new infections in Chile over the past two months have been found to be lambda mutants. It circulates at about the same rate as the gamma mutant first detected in Brazil.
In the UK, Lambda Variant under investigation (VUI) On June 23, 6 cases were confirmed nationwide. That number is currently eight. The UK Public Health Service (PHE) currently states that “there is no evidence that this variant causes more serious illness or reduces the effectiveness of currently deployed vaccines.”
As of July 5th No known cases reported The published data focuses on mutants of concern, but of Canadian lambda mutants.
Little research has been done on lambda variants yet, but Brazilian researchers write: Preprint surveyAlthough not yet peer-reviewed, they believe that “there is a good chance of becoming a VOC (a variant of concern),” Preprint studies suggest This variant was more contagious than the alpha and gamma variants, and CoronaVac, also known as the Sinovac vaccine, was less effective against it.
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