The Lambda variant has become the dominant version of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Peru. Here a poll ... [+] worker sanitizes a polling station in Lima on April 10, 2021. (Photo by ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images)
Compared to all the attention that the Alpha and then Delta variants have been getting, theres been relative silence of the Lambda until now.
The Lambda variant of the Covid-19 coronavirus is not to be confused with the lambada, which is the forbidden dance. But this variant has been progressively dancing its way around the globe. Its already become the dominant strain in Peru, which has had the highest Covid-19 case fatality rate and deaths per capita in the world. It has also spread to at least 29 countries in five different World Health Organization (WHO) regions. So the question is: will this version of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) Lambda the world into even more trouble?
Its hard to say right now. Much to learn about the Lambda variant there is, as Yoda would say. Currently, the Lambda variant is like your dad wearing a one-legged cat suit thats way too tight for the first time. You can see some disturbing signs but you cant quite see or figure out everything thats going on yet.
The Lambda variant has been around for while. It was first detected in Peru back in August 2020 and has steadily grown in presence there. Eventually, the Lambda variant became the alpha or the top dog of Covid-19 coronavirus strains in Peru. Since April 2021, sequencing of Covid-19 coronavirus cases in the country has found the Lambda variant in over 80% of the samples. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit Peru particularly hard too. As of July 9, Peru has had a total of 2,074,186 reported Covid-19 cases with 193,909 of those resulting in death, yielding a 9.3% case fatality ratio and a 596.45 deaths per 100,000 people in the population, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Those numbers have made Peru number one globally in both categories. And in this case, being number one is not good.
Peru has had the highest per capita Covid-19 death toll in the world. (Photo by Raul Sifuentes/Getty ... [+] Images)
A June 15 WHO report noted elevated prevalence of the Lambda variant in multiple other South American countries as well, including Chile, Ecuador, and Argentina. According to a Public Health England report, as of June 24, 2021, this variant has appeared in 525 samples from the U.S., 87 in Germany, 86 in Argentina, 57 in Mexico, 43 in Spain, 19 in Israel, 15 in Colombia, 13 in France, eight in Egypt, seven in Switzerland, six in the United Kingdom, five in Italy, three in Brazil, and three in Canada as well as in single samples from the Netherlands, Aruba, Portugal, Denmark, Czech Republic, Turkey, Australia, Curacao, and Zimbabwe.
This version of the virus, otherwise known as the C.37 variant, made the WHOs Variants of Interest (VOI) list on June 14, 2021, joining other variants like the Eta, Iota, and Kappa ones. These Greek lettered names all may sound like fraternities or sororities but if someone asks you to rush the Lambda variant, its better to say, get the heck away from me. In this case, interest doesnt mean oh, that would be cool like a statue of Ariana Grande made out of hot dogs. Instead, interest here means that public health officials should watch the variant very closely because it could become a major threat. A VOI is a version of the virus that, in the words of the WHO, has genetic changes that are predicted or known to affect virus characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity, immune escape, diagnostic or therapeutic escape and that is spreading so that it may be an emerging risk to global public health.
A VOI is one step below a Variant of Concern (VOC). The Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Gamma variants have already made the VOC list. The Lambda variant doesnt qualify as a VOC at this moment because studies have not yet confirmed that it is more transmissible, causes worse illness, or better able to get past the Covid-19 vaccines or treatments than other versions of the virus.
The key words here are have not yet confirmed. There just havent been enough studies so far to draw any strong conclusions about the Lambda variant. The situation in Peru does raise concerns that the Lambda variant may be more transmissible and more likely to result in worse Covid-19 outcomes. However, other factors can affect the spread of the virus and resulting death rates such as access to health care and the presence or lack of control measures such as social distancing and face mask use. Therefore, Perus higher death rates may not be solely due to the characteristics of the virus. The spread of this variant to so many other countries does lend more support, though, to the possibility that it is indeed more transmissible.
Of course, every time a new variant emerges, a big question is how well currently available Covid-19 vaccines may protect against the variant. Early indications are that the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines may still offer good protection, as you can see by this tweet from Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine:
Hotez cited a pre-print thats been uploaded on to the bioRxiv website. This pre-print describes a study that took antibodies from the blood of people who had had Covid-19 previously or had received the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines and determined whether these antibodies were able to neutralize the Lambda variant of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The not so good news is that the Lambda variant was able to infect cells more readily than the original version of the virus. The good news is that the antibodies seemed to neutralize the Lambda variant. This provided evidence that the currently available Covid-19 mRNA vaccines may offer good protection against the Lambda variant and that the Regeneron monoclonal antibody therapy cocktail would remain effective against this version.
Keep in mind though that a pre-print is not the same as a peer-reviewed publication in a respectable scientific journal. All you need to upload a pre-print is a computer, Internet access, and someone besides a hamster to press the right keys on the keyboard. Hamsters are not always great with keyboards because they can end up typing out expletives. They also may trade dogecoin if they can access your computer. More studies are needed to determine whether the Lambda variant is actually more transmissible and more likely to cause more severe Covid-19 and whether it can get around the protection offered by currently available Covid-19 vaccines.
Anyone who understands the science of coronavirus replications and mutation will understand that variants will be a continuing threat until enough people are vaccinated and pubic health officials get the pandemic under control. Variants are not a scare campaign as the following tweet suggests:
The media isnt rolling out these variants, its viral replication thats doing this. Again, this is science. Continuing to overlook the science will continue to extend the current situation:
The emergence and spread of the Lambda variant is a reminder that the Covid-19 coronavirus is not going to stay the same. The virus is not like that adult who peaked in high school and still insists that beer funneling and giving people atomic wedgies are cool. Instead, the Covid-19 coronavirus is more like Madonna in that it continues to evolve and adapt to the times. Like a drunk person trying make photocopies of his or her butt, every time the virus replicates or makes more copies of itself, it can make mistakes. These mistakes result in mutations in the genetic codes of the resulting copies of the virus. Such mutants are in effect new variants.
Thats why its so important to slow the spread of the virus as much as possible at least until enough people can be vaccinated to break the chains of transmission. As long as the Covid-19 coronavirus remains so widespread, unvaccinated people can serve as variant factories. In other words, when you dont protect yourself against the virus, your body serve as a cheap motel. The viruses can essentially say, your body is a wonderland, I'll use my spike proteins. This isnt exactly what John Mayer has sung about because he is not a gigantic virus. But its close. Getting vaccinated wont completely protect you against getting infected, since the vaccine is not like a impenetrable concrete full-body condom. However, the vaccines do offer very good protection and may make the virus effectively say, Damn, baby, you frustrate me.
If you arent vaccinated, its best to maintain other Covid-19 precautions like wearing face masks and social distancing. This not only will protect you but also protect the rest of society by slowing the emergence of variants. Not slowing the emergence of variants could prolong the pandemic and get us to a point where we have fewer and fewer Greek letter to name the new variants.
See original here:
Lambda Variant Of Covid-19 Coronavirus Is Spreading, What You Need To Know - Forbes
- Why Vaccinated People Are Getting Breakthrough Infections - The New York Times - July 24th, 2021
- Coronavirus in Illinois: 7,983 New COVID Cases, 47 Deaths, 139K Vaccinations in the Past Week - NBC Chicago - July 24th, 2021
- 31 Children Test Positive for Coronavirus at Summer Camp in NY - The New York Times - July 24th, 2021
- They Live in an N.Y.C. Virus Hot Spot. But They Wont Get Vaccinated. - The New York Times - July 24th, 2021
- Positive Coronavirus Test Halts Shakespeare in the Park for Third Night - The New York Times - July 24th, 2021
- Coronavirus Watch: Common respiratory viruses are on the rise, CDC warns - USA TODAY - July 24th, 2021
- China Has Rejected A WHO Plan For Further Investigation Into The Origins Of COVID-19 - NPR - July 24th, 2021
- COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 23 July - World Economic Forum - July 24th, 2021
- CT hospitality jobs struggling to recover from the coronavirus - The CT Mirror - July 24th, 2021
- We may finally know why the delta variant of coronavirus is so infectious - Livescience.com - July 24th, 2021
- The coronavirus cuts cells hairlike cilia, which may help it invade the lungs - Science News Magazine - July 24th, 2021
- Texas veterans homes overseen by George P. Bush were often the deadliest places to be during COVID-19 pandemic - The Texas Tribune - July 24th, 2021
- Coronavirus and the global recovery: the dangers of whiplash economics - Financial Times - July 24th, 2021
- Public Health Officials Announce 7,983 New Cases of Coronavirus Disease Over the Past Week | IDPH - IDPH - July 24th, 2021
- Coronavirus infection rates in these South Shore communities are among highest in NYC - SILive.com - July 24th, 2021
- Olympics 2021 COVID-19 tracker: Everyone who has tested positive for coronavirus at the Games - CBS Sports - July 24th, 2021
- Covid-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease, experts say, as rising cases threaten unvaccinated - CNN - July 24th, 2021
- Coronavirus Roundup: Concerns About the Delta Variant Rise; Administration Will 'Continue to Follow the Science' for Agency Reentry Plans -... - July 24th, 2021
- Coexisting with the Coronavirus - The New Yorker - July 22nd, 2021
- Sixth Texas Democrat in Washington, D.C., tests positive for COVID-19 - The Texas Tribune - July 22nd, 2021
- What Is A Breakthrough COVID Case, And How Big Is The Risk? : Shots - Health News - NPR - July 22nd, 2021
- Coronavirus: US extends travel limits at borders with Canada and Mexico - as it happened - Financial Times - July 22nd, 2021
- Coronavirus Data for July 20, 2021 | mayormb - Executive Office of the Mayor - July 22nd, 2021
- 1st U.S. Athlete Set To Compete In Olympics Tests Positive For Coronavirus In Japan - NPR - July 22nd, 2021
- Death rates soar in Southeast Asia as virus wave spreads - Associated Press - July 22nd, 2021
- Scarred by Covid, Survivors and Victims Families Aim to Be a Political Force - The New York Times - July 22nd, 2021
- Two-thirds of Indians have coronavirus antibodies, survey shows - Reuters India - July 22nd, 2021
- Coco Gauff tests positive for the virus, another blow for the Tokyo Olympics. - The New York Times - July 22nd, 2021
- Cats Are Better Than Dogs (at Catching the Coronavirus) - The New York Times - July 20th, 2021
- Oregon sees 777 new coronavirus cases over the weekend, nine more COVID deaths - KATU - July 20th, 2021
- Coronavirus: Canada paves way for tourists to return starting in August - as it happened - Financial Times - July 20th, 2021
- COVID-19: Vallance corrects mistake to say 60% of people being admitted to hospital with coronavirus are unvaccinated - Sky News - July 20th, 2021
- The latest on the Covid-19 pandemic as Olympics approach: Live updates - CNN - July 20th, 2021
- Coronavirus Roundup: Smithsonian and National Archives Advance Reopenings; Court Sides with CDC on Cruises - GovExec.com - July 20th, 2021
- Despite Positive COVID-19 Results, Team USA Will Be Ready For Tokyo Olympics : Live Updates: The Tokyo Olympics - NPR - July 20th, 2021
- Coronavirus today: The weekend continued the dangerous trend; deaths top 6,000 in Arkansas - Arkansas Times - July 20th, 2021
- Factbox: Coronavirus outbreaks at the Tokyo Olympics - Reuters - July 20th, 2021
- 3 Texas Dems test positive for coronavirus while in D.C. - POLITICO - July 20th, 2021
- Three Texas House Democrats who traveled to Washington, D.C., test positive for coronavirus - The Texas Tribune - July 18th, 2021
- Fauci says natural origins theory of coronavirus is still the most likely - CNN - July 18th, 2021
- COVID by the Numbers: Coronavirus Metrics in Each of Illinois' Health Care Regions - NBC Chicago - July 18th, 2021
- Yankees Game Postponed After Positive Covid Tests - The New York Times - July 18th, 2021
- 'Bridgerton' and Coronavirus: Positive Tests Halt Production in UK - The New York Times - July 18th, 2021
- The Latest: 3 lawmakers who fled Texas over vote have virus - Associated Press - July 18th, 2021
- Germany lists Greece and the Netherlands as coronavirus risk areas -RKI - Reuters - July 18th, 2021
- COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 16 July - World Economic Forum - July 18th, 2021
- Majority of Covid misinformation came from 12 people, report finds - The Guardian - July 18th, 2021
- What to Know About the Coronavirus Beta Variant - Healthline - July 18th, 2021
- Coronavirus Data for July 15, 2021 | mayormb - Executive Office of the Mayor - July 18th, 2021
- Florida adds 45,604 coronavirus cases, 231 deaths in the past week - Tampa Bay Times - July 18th, 2021
- Coronavirus: Canada set to overtake US in terms of fully vaccinated population as it happened - Financial Times - July 18th, 2021
- Led Study Helps in the Fight Against the Coronavirus Pandemic - United States Geological Survey - July 15th, 2021
- Many Jobs Lost During the Coronavirus Pandemic Just Arent Coming Back - The Wall Street Journal - July 15th, 2021
- Coronavirus Today: Where are the COVID-19 treatments? - Los Angeles Times - July 15th, 2021
- Coronavirus returns to Kingston Healthcare Center, a local nursing home notorious for its handling of the pandemic - KGET 17 - July 15th, 2021
- Myanmar sees record coronavirus deaths and infections - Reuters - July 15th, 2021
- Statement on the eighth meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)... - July 15th, 2021
- Unvaccinated may require tougher tactics amid COVID-19 surge - Los Angeles Times - July 15th, 2021
- COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 13 July - World Economic Forum - July 14th, 2021
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: July 13, 2021 - FDA.gov - July 14th, 2021
- One mutation may have set the coronavirus up to become a global menace - Science News Magazine - July 14th, 2021
- A Woman Died Of COVID After Contracting 2 Variants At The Same Time, Researchers Say - NPR - July 14th, 2021
- What Counts as a COVID-19 Breakthrough Case? - The Atlantic - July 14th, 2021
- Death Toll Rises to 92 in Fire That Gutted Iraq Hospital Coronavirus Ward - The New York Times - July 14th, 2021
- Summer camps hit with COVID outbreaks are schools next? - Associated Press - July 14th, 2021
- Summer Vacation Is Not Going to Keep Coronavirus at Bay. Only Jabs Will. - Bloomberg - July 14th, 2021
- Coronavirus Data for July 9-11, 2021 | mayormb - Executive Office of the Mayor - July 14th, 2021
- FLORIDA Florida reports rise in coronavirus cases over the past week WINK NEWS - Wink News - July 11th, 2021
- Breath-Based Coronavirus Tests Are Being Developed - The New York Times - July 11th, 2021
- Coronavirus cases in the Netherlands surge more than 800% in one week - BNO News - July 11th, 2021
- Halloween Haunt, Winterfest returning to Kings Island this fall after coronavirus cancellation - dayton.com - July 11th, 2021
- Americans will need masks indoors as U.S. heads for 'dangerous fall' with surge in delta Covid cases - CNBC - July 11th, 2021
- COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 9 July - World Economic Forum - July 11th, 2021
- Coronavirus survivors: Wed like to hear your story of resilience and courage - SILive.com - July 11th, 2021
- Headache? Runny nose? These are among the new top 5 Covid symptoms, study says - CNBC - July 9th, 2021
- COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 100 New Cases Reported Friday - CBS Baltimore - July 9th, 2021
- OC Residents and Businesses Grapple With Masks, Vaccine Verification Policies Amid Coronavirus Reopening - Voice of OC - July 9th, 2021
- Officials Tighten Restrictions In Seoul Amid Another Wave Of COVID-19 Infections - NPR - July 9th, 2021
- Coronavirus: Inbound travelers to isolate until receiving test results - The Jerusalem Post - July 9th, 2021
- The Latest: New Zealand gives tentative OK for 2nd vaccine - The Associated Press - July 7th, 2021