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New coronavirus variant 'Lambda' found in 29 countries. Why WHO has called it a 'variant of interest'?

Jagran English logo Jagran English 19-06-2021 Mukul Sharma

New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: As parts of the world continue to grapple with the latest surge in COVID-19 cases attributed to the Delta variant, first witnessed in India, World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised the alarm for another COVID-19 variant, named ‘Lambda’. The Lambda variant of COVID-19 has been labelled as a ‘Variant of Interest’ (VOI) by the World Health Organisation.

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Lambda variant of COVID-19: origin and expansion

Lambda variant of COVID-19 first emerged in Peru in Latin America, WHO said in its weekly bulletin. First detected in August 2020, the Lambda variant has been reported in 29 nations all over the world.

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"On 14 June 2021, a variant assigned to Pango lineage C.37, GISAID clade GR/452Q.V1, NextStrain clade 20D, was designated as a global VOI, and assigned the WHO label Lambda," the WHO bulletin states.

Lambda variant comprises 81 per cent of all COVID cases in Peru

Of all the Coronavirus cases reported out of Peru this April this year, 81 per cent of all have been found to be of Lambda variant, WHO said. It added that in neighbouring Chile, 32 per cent of all submitted sequences in the last two months belonged to the Lambda variant.

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Increased transmissibility, possible antibody-resistance: WHO about Lambda variant

WHO said that the Lambda variant of COVID-19 consists of a number of mutations, which make it to exhibit a potential increase in transmissibility or “possible increased resistance to neutralising antibodies”.

WHO also added the need for more clinical studies to determine the impact of Lambda variant, so that effective counter-spread measures can be put in place to lower the risk of the spread of virus. WHO pointed out that "robust studies into the phenotypic impacts are needed to better understand the impact on countermeasures and to control the spread.” It also suggested the studies in order to validate the neutralising impact of vaccines on Lambda variant.

Follow the government's latest travel advice if you are planning a trip outside India or travelling back to India from affected areas. You can also read World Health Organization's advice on basic protective measures against the virus. WHO has also busted some myths surrounding coronavirus. The Ministry of Health's special helpline is available at +91-11-23978046 and ncov2019@gmail.com.


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