The WHO and the UK Government are continuing to track the spread of the Lambda variant of coronavirus, which has become the dominant strain in Peru. The new variant, which has also been called C.37, accounts for 71% of all COVID-19 cases in Peru from January to June 2021, writes sciencefocus.com.
Peru’s Minister of Health, Óscar Raúl Ugarte Ubilluz, said that the Lambda strain has now spread around the world.
“[The Lambda variant] has been identified in the US, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, Spain, Germany, not only in Peru. 623 samples from 19 regions have been studied since April, through what is called genomic sequencing, that is, the genomic analysis in its composition, to determine the currently circulating variants”.
Some scientists have warned that the Lambda strain could be more transmissible than the Delta variant, which is currently the dominant strain in the UK.
A pre-print analysis, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, of the spike proteins on the SARS-CoV-2 Lambda variant showed a two-fold increase in infectivity, which scientists say is due to a particular mutation on the virus called the L452Q mutation.
The researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine tested the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines – like the Pfizer and the Moderna coronavirus vaccines used in the UK – against the Lambda variant.
According to their results, there was a “partial resistance to neutralisation”, however this “is not likely to cause a significant loss of protection against infection” in vaccinated individuals.