Health June 20, 2021 | 11:00 am

Lambda: New variant of covid-19 advances in Latin American countries

An electron microscope image showing (objects in blue) SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo: EFE

The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) included in its list of interest the recent variant of covid-19 called Lambda, which was previously known as C3.7 or “Andean variant,” whose name was modified under the new system Greek letters used by the organization.

Lambda was included in the list of variants of interest mainly due to the community transmission rate in various countries.

To read more: 4 variants of COVID-19 circulate in the DR; Strains from Brazil and the United Kingdom continue to worry the MSP.

This strain of covid-19 was reported for the first time in Peru in August 2020 and had been expanding to other Latin American countries. As of June 15 of this year, around 1730 samples from 29 countries in the WHO regions had been reported to the GISAID platform.

GISAID is an open-access platform in charge of providing genomic data of the influenza virus and the coronavirus responsible for the covid-19 pandemic.

The Latin American countries where this variant circulates, and according to WHO statistics, are: Peru, which presents 81% of covid-19 cases sequenced to the Lambda variant, Argentina 37%, Chile with 32 % in the last 60 days having a circulation similar to the Gama variant which has 33% and surpassing the Alpha variant by 4%.

Regarding the symptoms of this variant, Pablo Tsukayama, doctor in molecular microbiology and coordinator of the Microbial Genomics Laboratory of Peru, assured that: “No different symptoms have been found, and to date the best known ones continue to be reported,” he pointed out.

In its report of June 15 of this year, the WHO also pointed out that this variant brings several mutations with phenotypic implications, such as a possible increase in transmissibility or resistance to neutralizing antibodies. However, the organization indicated limited evidence on the impact of this strain of the virus.

The agency said that this variant should be studied further to confirm the impact on existing countermeasures and evaluate the vaccines’ effectiveness.

Comments are closed.