As the world continues to battle the deadly Delta variant of COVID-19, a new strain called ‘Lambda’ has been detected in over 30 countries in the past four weeks.
Scientists of the World Health Organization (WHO) had on June 14 recognized the ‘Lambda’ variant as the seventh “variant of interest”. They also noted that it is “associated with substantive rates of community transmission in multiple countries”.
“Lambda carries a number of mutations” that may have led to “potential increased transmissibility or possible increased resistance to neutralizing antibodies,” the WHO said.
According to UK Health Ministry, the new variant is much more dangerous than the Delta variant, causing a major concern for scientists and doctors across the globe.
It also informed that the new strain originated from Peru.
“The Lambda strain was reported to have originated from Peru, the country with the highest mortality rate in the world,” the Ministry had tweeted on Monday.
While the Lambda variant is mostly dominant in Latin America, it seems to have also spread to as far as the UK. At least eight such cases were detected in the UK so far.
India has not reported any Lambda strain as of yet, but, the variant has reached Israel, which is in Asia.
The Lambda variant is not particularly new and could possibly have been around since last year. It has caused at least 80% of the infections in Peru.
According to WHO’s research, the variant’s spike protein has at least seven significant mutations as opposed to the Delta variant that has three. With this, the implications of the former would be massive including increased transmissibility or even enhanced resistance to antibodies, created either naturally or through vaccination.
The apex health body further said that the mutation’s designation as a “variant of interest” means the genetic changes are either known to or are predicted to affect transmissibility, severity, and even immune escape.
Currently, the variant is designated as a “variant of interest”, but, studies reveal that it “has a considerable potential to become a variant of concern”.