A new COVID-19 variant has reared its ugly head and unfortunately, it is more infectious and deadlier than the delta variant that continues to contribute to the rise of COVID-19 cases across the globe. According to a Hindustan Times report, the variant which was first reported from Peru– the country with the highest mortality rate in the world– has now been detected in over 30 countries in the past four weeks.
The new emerging threat has been reported in places including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland. It has also been declared as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Reportedly, the Lambda variant has at least seven significant mutations in the spike protein four more than the Delta variant.
And it could mean the possibility of increased transmissibility or enhanced resistance to antibodies. “There is currently limited evidence on the full extent of the impact associated with these genomic changes, and further robust studies into the phenotype impacts are needed to better understand the impact on countermeasures and to control the spread. Further studies are also required to validate the continued effectiveness of vaccines,” the WHO said in a statement.
In fact, after as many as 6 cases, the United Kingdom health body, Public Health England (PHE), designated Lambda as a “variant under investigation” on June 23. While there isn’t much information, experts believe it to be more transmissible than the original virus. Although it is not new with the first instance of the lambda variant dating back to December 2020, it is responsible for over 81 percent of the cases detected in the country since April 2021.
LAMBDA variant of coronavirus not reported in India so far: Sources
— ANI (@ANI) July 7, 2021
Fortunately, it has not been detected in India yet. Dr Pragya Yadav, head of the National Institute of Virology’s Maximum Containment Facility, was quoted saying, “Lambda variant has been detected in 30 countries. Lambda variant was first reported from Peru, in December 2020. The number of cases reported from this variant is increasing in different countries, indicating it to be highly transmissible. A recent study revealed that the Lambda variant is susceptible to mRNA vaccine-elicited antibodies and convalescent serum was able to neutralize the lambda variant”.
Now, while India and the neighbouring countries have not reported any cases yet, travel from countries like France, Germany, UK, and Italy are frequent and it could end badly. With ease in lockdown and the nation and its healthcare infrastructure still reeling from the second wave of Coronavirus, any new entrant might trigger fresh infections and can swiftly become cause of worry.
Cover Image: Freepik