In Peru, health care workers vaccinate women.
Diego Ramos | AFP | Getty Images
More than 18 months after the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is accustomed to the news of new variants of the virus, especially those that have replaced previous versions of the virus.
Some mutations in the virus, such as alpha and delta variants, were first discovered in the United Kingdom and India, respectively, but are more contagious and predominant worldwide than previous virus repeats. Whenever a new variant of the coronavirus emerges, scientists are watching closely.
The world is still struggling with the rapid spread of delta variants, but it is transmissible May cause hospitalization Unvaccinated people have new variants that are being monitored by experts. Lambda variant.
This is what we know (and don’t know) about it:
Designated as a lambda variant, or strain, “C.37” is rapidly spreading in South America, especially in Peru, where the earliest documented samples of the virus date back to August 2020.
However, it was flagged as an “mutant of interest” by the World Health Organization on June 14, this year, due to the significant spread of cases resulting from that mutant.
In a mid-June report, WHO said, “Lambda is associated with substantial community infection rates in multiple countries, with increasing prevalence as the incidence of Covid-19 increases.” Report and variant.
WHO states in a June 15 report that lambda variants have been detected in 29 countries, regions, or regions in five WHO regions, although they have a stronger presence in South America.
“Peruvian officials reported that 81% of Covid-19 cases sequenced after April 2021 were associated with lambda. Argentina has lambda since the third week of February 2021. We reported an increase in morbidity.% of Covid-19 cases were sequenced, “WHO said.
In Chile, on the other hand, the prevalence of lambdas increases over time, accounting for 32% of the sequenced cases reported in the last 60 days, WHO said, at a rate similar to gamma mutants. He added that it was co-circulating, but was “out.” -Make alpha variants “conflict” over the same period.
By June 24th, a lambda variant was detected For 26 countries, According to data from the UK Public Health Services. This includes Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, as well as the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, Israel, France, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.
WHO and other public health agencies are trying to understand how this variant is compared to other virus strains. This includes whether the vaccine is highly infectious and resistant.
In mid-June, WHO said, “Lambda has many mutations with suspected phenotypic effects, including increased potential transmissibility and increased resistance to neutralizing antibodies.”
WHO noted specific mutations in peplomers, some of which have been described as abnormal by experts, and “evidence for the full range of effects associated with these genomic changes is currently limited.” Said that further research is needed.To better understand the impact on measures [against Covid-19] And to control the spread. “
It is important to note that lambda variants are one step down from being designated as a “variant of concern” such as alpha and delta mutations. At a press conference last week, WHO technical lead on Covid-19, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, was asked what it takes to change the definition of a lambda variant.
“If it shows a pathway of increased infectivity, for example if it increases severity, or if it has any effect on our measures, it will be a variant of concern,” she said. Said.
Again, more research is needed on the effectiveness of vaccines, especially the effects of lambda variants on vaccines that are widely available in the west, such as Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Oxford-AstraZeneca.
But Questions have been raised about the effectiveness of Chinese vaccines in parts of South America.This has been predominantly deployed in the region as cases associated with the spread and infection rate of lambda variants have risen with vaccination programs. Brazil, Chile and Peru all rely heavily on China’s Covid vaccines, Sinovac or Sinopharm, but vaccination rates vary widely across South America.