There’s been a lot of talk recently about the Delta variant of the COVID 19 virus.
However, in a recent CNN news report, the Lambda variant, which is the newest variant to gain widespread attention, was said to have seen an increase in cases and is now arousing interest among health experts.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Is The Lambda Variant?
First off, at this point, the Lambda variant is nowhere near as widespread as the Delta variant.
The Delta variant represents about 83% of new cases in the United States.
However, experts have called the Lambda variant ‘a variant that they’re watching closely.’
It was first identified in Peru in December of 2020.
According to the World Health Organization, the Delta variant is classified as ‘a variant of concern,’ which makes it different from Lambda.
In fact, the Lambda variant has been designated as ‘a variant of interest.’
This designates the Lambda variant a degree lower on the risk scale than the Delta variant, but it still signifies a capacity for the variant in question to spread rapidly in a population.
And so, according to experts, this is still cause for concern.
Here’s What Experts Do Know About The Variant In Terms Of Real Life Danger
First off, it doesn’t seem to be as worrisome as the Delta variant.
Hence, why it’s categorized as a degree lower, and not as a variant of concern.
It’s also true that the Lambda variant probably won’t spread as fast or as far as the Delta variant.
Lambda cases in the US make up about 0.2% of new cases, which isn’t much.
However, the interesting thing about lambda is that early studies have shown that it has specific mutations that may make it more transmissible than the original strain of the Coronavirus.
Researchers from Japan, for example, found that there are three distinct mutations on its spike proteins that contribute to making it more infectious.
At this point, it’s impossible to know for sure exactly how transmissible the Lambda variant is.
It’s also true that studies have shown that thus far, the vaccines still remained protective, even in the light of a potential new variant.
There is some cause for concern that the vaccines may be less effective against Lambda than against the original strain of the Coronavirus.
Well, that being said, data remains inconclusive about how well vaccines actually protect against the Lambda variant. Scientists say they need more time to study it, to make a definitive conclusion.
In one study, many variants of COVID, including the Lambda variant, showed only modest resistance against antibodies elicited by the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
This suggests that the vaccines are still effective, and that they still work.
However, in order for them to work effectively and help prevent the spread of new variants, more people are urged to get vaccinated in a timely fashion—especially as the new school year gets ready to start again and people get ready to assemble in-person in classrooms.