Authors: By Hannah Sparks
As the US struggles to suppress the rapidly advancing coronavirus Delta variant, new evidence has emerged that the latest Lambda mutation — ravaging parts of South America — won’t be slowed by vaccines.
In a July 28 report appearing on bioRxiv, where the study awaits peer review prior to getting published, researchers in Japan are sounding the alarm on the C.37 variant, dubbed Lambda. And it’s proven just as virulent as Delta thanks to a similar mutation making them even more contagious.
The strain has been contained in 26 countries, including substantial outbreaks in Chile, Peru, Argentina and Ecuador.
“Notably, the vaccination rate in Chile is relatively high; the percentage of the people who received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine was [about] 60%,” the authors write.
“Nevertheless, a big COVID-19 surge has occurred in Chile in Spring 2021, suggesting that the Lambda variant is proficient in escaping from the antiviral immunity elicited by vaccination,” they warn.
The Lambda variant is thought to have emerged somewhere in South America between November and December 2020, and has since turned up in countries throughout Europe, North America and a few more isolated cases in Asia, according to GISAID data.