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Lambda COVID-19 variant spreading outside Latin America, now in England, Portugal

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Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2021. 11:16 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: A new COVID-19 variant, the Lambda variant has now spread to England according, to Quartz.

Originally detected in Peru, the Lambda variant, or C.37, has spread to other South American countries, but six cases have now been reported in England. Previously, a number of cases were reported in Portugal in April.

The Lambda was previously called the Andean variant, but the World Health Organization changed names to the Greek alphabet to avoid regional names.

Though the world is being severely affected by the Delta variant, now this mutant version of the COVID-19 is gaining ground.

Originally detected in Peru last year December, the Lambda variant has spread to the neighbouring countries of Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, and Brazil, before showing up in Portugal and now in England.

In Peru, which has the highest per capita mortality rate, 81 percent of the COVID-19 cases have been reported to be of the Lambda variant.

On June 14, the World Health Organization (WHO) had labelled the Lambda variant, as a ‘variant of interest’ which is below ‘variant of concern’ which is the designation the Delta variant has.

Dr Alicia Demirjian, Covid Incident Director at Public Health England (PHE), in speaking with BBC Science Focus magazine, said that at the moment limited evidence is available about the Lambda variant.

The UK government designated the Lambda variant as a variant under investigation.

The PHE said that it is now testing the Lambda variant find out what its characteristics are and how transmissible it really is. The PHE added that at this point they don’t have any evidence as to its severity and if it can make the vaccines currently in use less effective.

Peruvian microbiologist Pablo Tsukuma said scientists do not know enough of the Lambda variant because the countries affected in South America have different capacities to do variant sequencing.

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