Lambda, a new Covid strain, found in 29 countries: Symptoms and why is it called as 'variant of interest'?
Washington, June 18: Yet another coronavirus (COVID-19) mutation, known as 'Lambda variant' was recently added to World Health Organization (WHO) list of variants of interest. The agency is monitoring more than 50 different Covid variants, but not all become enough of a public health threat to make the WHO's formal watchlist.
The variants are divided into two categories: of interest and of concern. The difference between the two is that those of concern can cause epidemiological problems and the others do not yet have that capacity.
The WHO said it is tracking one more variant of interest, first seen in Peru and called Lambda, which has genetic markers suggesting that it is more transmissible.
Lineage C.37 of SARS-CoV-2 was first reported in Peru in August 2020. The lambda variant has multiple mutations in the spike protein' that might increase transmissibility or strengthen the virus's resistance to antibodies.
It was on 14 June 2021, WHO designated it as Variant of Interest (VOI) and named it Lambda on 31 May 2021.
At present, the Lambda variant has been identified in 29 countries, with greater circulation in Latin America, in particular Chile (31% overall prevalence), Peru (9%), Ecuador (8%) and Argentina (3%). However, it is most prevalent in South America, with officials in Peru reporting that 81 per cent of cases sequenced since April are linked to the Lambda variant.
The WHO said Lambda has genetic markers suggesting it may be more transmissible and possibly more resistant to neutralizing antibodies, though more studies are needed to gauge the impact of countermeasures as well as vaccine effectiveness.
Lambda variant: Symptoms and efficacy of vaccines
The symptoms do not seem very different from the most 'known' Covid-19, although it is still being studied by world organizations: fever, headache, cough and cold as well as loss of smell.
According to the WHO report, in-depth studies on "phenotypic" impacts will be needed to understand how to control its spread.
Why the WHO called it 'Variant of Interest'
The WHO has defined Lambda as ' variant of interest', which is nothing more than the step that precedes that of the "worrying variants" such as the Alpha (English), Beta (South African), Gamma (Brazilian) and there Delta variant (Indiana).