The Delta variant of the coronavirus is considered as the most dangerous mutation of coronavirus. But a recent study shows that the Lambda variant is more contagious than Delta variant and none of the vaccines being used currently are said to be effective against the Lambda variant. This mutation is likely to neutralize vaccines, says the study.
The report on new study was published on bioRxiv. The Lambda variant is spreading rapidly in South America. The strain has been found in 26 countries, especially in Chile. Researchers have said that its mutations are similar to that of Delta. Though emerged from South America in the end of 2020, Lambda variant is found in countries throughout Europe, North America and a few more isolated cases in Asia.
Variant of Concern VS Variant of Interest
The World Health Organization has labelled the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta strains as "variant of Concern," which need immediate attention. But it has labelled Lambda as a "variant of interest". Though the ratio of Lambda variant in the U.S. is low, researchers in Japan have sounded an alarm on Lambda variant, which is also known as the C.37 variant. In the U.S. so far only one percent of people [911 cases] have been infected by the Lambda variant when compared to Delta, which has affected nearly 78,000 people in the country.
But the Lambda variant, which is said to have originated in Peru, has seen outbreaks in Argentina and Ecuador apart from Chile. Reports claimed that vaccination rate is relatively high in Chile and at least 60 percent of people have received at least first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The country majorly depends on the Sinovac Biotech vaccine. But surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Chile has proved that the Lambda variant is resistant to the power of vaccines being used.
Third Dose of Vaccine?
After a thorough study, researchers have found that Lambda variant not only causes high rate of infectivity but also has shown resistance against antiviral immunity. According to the New York Post, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] in the U.S. has not published detailed study of the Lambda variant. However, in one of its reports, CDC has stated that mRNA vaccine might be effective in neutralizing the Lambda variant. But the percentage of effectiveness of this vaccine on the Lambda variant has not been made public yet.
However, studies have shown that people who are fully vaccinated have shown better resistance to COVID-19 variants than people who have not been vaccinated. So, to avoid further surge, the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. is considering to ask people [especially those with compromised immune systems] to get the third dose of vaccine.