Scientists have expressed fear that vaccines might not be effective against the Lambda variant of COVID-19 that originated in Peru. The variant is termed as highly contagious and is said to be the reason behind Peru recording the highest death rate in the world in the time of pandemic.
Scientists have said that the Lambda mutation, which is also known as C.37, might be resistant to vaccines. As per current records, the strain first developed in Peru in August 2020. Since then, it has already spread to 30 countries. Thus not only Latin America but cases have been found even in the United Kingdom. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said that strain has been found in the United States also.
Resistance to Neutralizing Antibodies
Reports claim that at least 81 percent of the people who have died during the pandemic in Peru were affected by the Lambda variant since April. This data was revealed by the World Health Organization [WHO]. In June, the WHO declared that Lambda carried a number of mutations that may have led to potential increased transmissibility or possible increased resistance to neutralizing antibodies.
Also Johns Hopkins University has released some data related to deaths caused by Lambda. Accordingly, the data revealed that among those affected by Lambda at least 10 percent die.
In a recent study, scientists from Chile have warned that Lambda appears to evade vaccines better than other strains. The New York Post quoted researchers and said that the data showed that mutations present in the spike protein of the Lambda variant confer escape to neutralizing antibodies and increased infectivity. The details were in the paper published by the University of Chile in Santiago.
Thus, experts have expressed concerns about the effect of undergoing a massive vaccination program. Lambda has spread rapidly in Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, apart from Peru. Experts also called Lambda an unusual set of mutations. It is also said that another variant Delta is similar to Lambda but the latter is termed highly contagious.
At least eight cases of Lambda have been found in the UK. The country has called Lambda, a variant that is under investigation. However, it has not been confirmed that vaccines do not work against Lambda. But WHO stated that there needs to be further studies before validating the effectiveness of vaccines on this variant.