Meet COVID -19 variant Lambda. Believed to be more contagious than Delta. Currently 29 countries.
So, we have COVID-19 Wuhan strain, the Delta strain, the Gamma strain, and the Lambda strain.
Below is part of the Original article:
In June, Lambda was added to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) list of variants of interest. WHO defines a variant of interest as one which has genetic changes that affect things such as transmissibility, disease severity and immune escape, and has been shown to be responsible for significant community transmission in multiple countries.
So far, Lambda has reached 29 countries around the world.
In an article for The Conversation, Dr Adam Taylor of the Menzies Health Institute at Queensland’s Griffith University wrote that the exact threat Lambda poses is still unknown.
“At this stage more research is required to say for certain how its mutations impact transmission, its ability to evade protection from vaccines, and the severity of disease,” he said.
“Preliminary evidence suggests Lambda has an easier time infecting our cells and is a bit better at dodging our immune systems. But vaccines should still do a good job against it.”
It’s that last point that the world is on edge about.
Lambda has a few defining mutations to the spike protein, according to Taylor. One mutation is associated with reduced susceptibility to virus-generated antibodies.
“This means antibodies generated from being infected with the original Wuhan strain of Covid aren’t quite as effective at neutralising Lambda,” he wrote in The Conversation.
Another mutation is similar to the Delta variant.
“This mutation in Delta not only increases the ability of the virus to infect cells, but also promotes immune escape meaning the antibodies vaccines generate are less likely to recognise it,” Taylor wrote.
It is this mutation, according to virologist Dr Ricardo Soto-Rifo of Chile’s Institute of Biomedical Sciences, which may be the reason for the strain’s high infection rate. In research not yet peer-reviewed, Soto-Rifo assessed the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine on Lambda. It showed the variant could neutralise the antibodies created by the vaccine.
Bottom line: GET VACCINATED. WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO.
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