While we all are wishing for the situation to get better, the Covid-19 variants don’t stop to disquiet us. The race between we humans and Covid 19 seems to be never-ending. However, the only hope we have is how effective vaccines can protect us against Covid 19 variants. I hate to break this to you but the lambda variant of Covid-19 is suspected to dodge even the vaccines. Here is what you might want to know about the lambda variant.
What is the lambda variant?
According to the report of the World Health Organization (WHO). The Lambda coronavirus variant was first witnessed in Peru in December 2020. Eventually, it then spread to multiple South American countries. Now, about 29 countries have reported being home to the lambda variant. The WHO considered it as a “variant of interest” not yet the most severe “variant of concern” like Alpha and Delta.
Scientists believe that the novel mutations in spike may contribute to increased transmissibility. Similarly, this could result in greater reinfection rates or reduced vaccine efficacy. The unusual combination of mutations has left scientists under strain. However, more researches are afoot regarding the variant.
Lambda coronavirus variant – CSIRO: The Lambda variant has an eclectic set of mutations, many of which appear to be immune evasions — that is, allowing the virus to evade a person’s immune response. https://t.co/FTL1bXmxfJ
— @tetralympus (@dragonsaerie) July 15, 2021
Lambda variant and Peru
Unfortunately, Peru has the highest number of deaths per capita due to Covid-19. Of every 100,000 of the population, 600 have died of coronavirus. The main reason behind such a towering number of cases is the emergence of the lambda variant. Likewise, the variant accounts for 97% of cases in Peru. It is said that the reason behind Peru having a bad time with Covid is due to a poorly funded, under-prepared healthcare system with too few ICU beds; slow vaccine rollout; limited testing capacity; a large informal economy (few people could afford not to work); and overcrowded housing.
So far the lambda variant may look like any other Covid 19 variant. But this variant is grabbing every researcher’s and scientists’ attention because it may even dodge vaccines.
Can the variant dodge vaccine?
A study by investigators in Chile suggests that the mutation, which first surfaced in Peru about a year ago and is highly infectious. Above that, it may also be able to evade vaccine antibodies. The study states,” Our results indicate that mutations present in the spike protein of the lambda variant of interest confer increased infectivity and immune escape from neutralizing antibodies elicited by CoronaVac.” Yes, CoronaVac is the same vaccine manufactured in China and is used in Peru.
The currently available vaccines are based on spike protein. Similarly, any changes to the spike protein in new variants can affect vaccine effectiveness. Lambda contains multiple mutations in spike protein. This is why scientists think that the prevailing vaccines may not work against the variant. We never know what the variants may turn up into. Hence it is always wise to wear high-quality masks and maintain social distancing until the situation gets really better.