After the delta variant found in India, another coronavirus variant has worried experts and many countries.
This variant is the lambda variant found for the first time in Peru, which is expected to be more infectious. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also declared it a ‘variant of interest’, and it has been found in about 30 countries.
When was the lambda variant revealed?
Lambda variant is not a new variant. It was first exposed in Peru last year in August 2020. About 82 per cent of the cases in Peru are of this variant, while it is also the dominant variant in neighbouring Chile. This variant was responsible for 31 per cent of the cases reported here in May and June. This variant has been found in about 30 countries, although there are very few cases in these countries.
Why is lambda a cause for concern?
The biggest reason for so much concern about lambda variants is the mutations in them. According to the WHO, there are at least seven key mutations in the spike protein of lambda, including key mutations such as L452Q and F490S.
Is the lambda variant more dangerous and deadly?
The lambda variant is believed to be more infectious because of these critical mutations in the spike protein. A recent study in Chile found it more contagious than the alpha variant found in Britain and the gamma variant found in Brazil. At the same time, Malaysia has said that it is more lethal than its delta variant. However, there is still minimal data in both these directions and more research is needed.
Does India need to worry?
Till now, the Lambda variant has not been found in India or any of its neighbouring countries. Not only this, Israel is the only country in Asia where this variant has been found. However, due to this, negligence cannot be done, and India needs to be careful. If the possibility of lambda variant vaccination or defeating natural immunity turns out to be accurate, then it can become a matter of concern for India.
Are Vaccines Effective Against Lambda?
The biggest reason to worry about the lambda variant is the lack of vaccines against it. A study in Chile found China’s Sinovac vaccine to be less effective against lambda variants and fears that other vaccines may also be less effective against it. However, nothing can be said final about this, and more research is needed in this direction.