The Lambda variant, which reportedly originated from Peru, is not yet considered a “variant of concern (VOC)” at this time. However, Japanese researchers have found that the variant is highly infectious and more resistant to vaccines than the original version of the virus that emerged from Wuhan, China.
In laboratory experiments, they found that three mutations in Lambda’s spike protein, known as RSYLTPGD246-253N, 260 L452Q, and F490S, help it resist neutralization by vaccine-induced antibodies. Two additional mutations, T76I and L452Q, help make Lambda highly infectious, they also found.
The highly-contagious Lambda variant of COVID-19 has not reached Philippine shores yet.
In a televised briefing on Tuesday, August 3, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the Philippine Genome Center is currently studying the variant and has not yet detected any case of it in the country.
“Lambda has been associated with substantive rates of community transmission in multiple countries, with rising prevalence over time concurrent with increased COVID-19 incidence,” the global health agency wrote in its Weekly Epidemiological Update published on June 15.