Many health experts have said that a new coronavirus variant that is called lambda variant might have elevated vaccine resistance. The new mutant is also known as the C.37 variant. It has been found in Peru for the first time in 2020. Peru is among the countries that have been hardest hit by the COVID19 pandemic. There have been around 595 COVID19 deaths per 100000 people. The country has recorded the highest rate of death due to COVID19 in the world. Now, health experts have revealed that the lambda variant has started becoming more prevalent in the United States as well. As per the latest report, more than 1300 cases that are linked to the lambda strain have been found in the US. A spokesperson from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that the lambda variant has been detected in 44 states of the country. Health experts have said that the lambda strain has been circulating in eight nations in South America. As per the Global Science Initiative GISAID, the deadly variant has been spreading in 41 countries across the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) as well has said that the lambda variant is a variant of interest.
Peru has been relying heavily on the Chinese COVID19 shot that is known as Sinopharm. Sinopharm, the Chinese shot has been proved to be 79 percent efficient in preventing hospitalizations linked to COVID19. On the other hand, a COVID19 shot that has been developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and the other COVID19 vaccine that has been made by Moderna has been proved to be 94 percent efficient in averting hospitalizations due to COVID19. Health experts from Japan have said that the lambda variant has three concerning mutations on the surface of its spike protein that make it more contagious and deadly as compared to the original strain of the virus. A study has found that the lambda strain might be 150 percent more resistant to antibodies that are derived from COVID19 shots. A spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that helps the virus to latch on to the ACE2 receptor of human cells. However, the findings of the study have not been peer-reviewed yet. The officials from the WHO has said that the strain in question is a variant of interest, as it is considered to be either more infectious as compared to the original strain of the virus or might have more ability to dodge antibodies derived from COVID19 shots. Scientists from the WHO have said that when more facts emerge that a new mutant is able to do either of these two things, it is classified as a variant of concern. Many experts are currently studying the lambda variant.
Health scholars from Japan are quite concerned that categorizing the lambda strain as a variant of interest will lessen the potential threat that might harm public health in the future. Experts have said that as the variant has been termed as a variant of interest, it might not be considered an ongoing concern as compared to other variants of concerns that have surfaced during the COVID19 pandemic. Nevertheless, as the lambda variant has been found to be relatively resistant to COVID19 shots, it might be able to surge breakthrough infection among people who are already vaccinated. Health experts have assured that the lambda strain does not appear to be spreading as widely as the Delta variant that has been detected in India for the first time during the second wave of the pandemic. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report that says the 1300 cases linked to the lambda variant in the United States account for less than 0.2 percent of new cases at present. On the other hand, the Delta variant contributed to around 93 percent of new COVID19 cases in the US. Considering these findings, the CDC has not termed the lambda variant as either a variant of interest or a variant of concern so far. An epidemiologist, Marie Van Kerkhove has said that the lambda strain does not appear to take off immediately after it is detected in a country. Marie Van Kerkhove is the technical chief of the COVID19 response team at the WHO.