The Lambda Coronavirus variant is believed to have come from Peru, where cases seem to be subsiding, but the UK is playing close attention to the strain since it’s hitting South America hard, and could potentially be more transmissible than the Delta variant. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the Lambda Covid variant?
The Lambda Coronavirus variant, also known as the C.37 variant, was first detected in Peru in December 2020. It is now the most dominant variant in Argentina, Chile and Colombia, but despite being identified in most US states, it hasn’t picked up much traction there.
The Covid Delta variant ‘spreads as easily as chickenpox’, and now accounts for 99% of Coronavirus cases in the UK – these are the new symptoms to look out for
The World Health Organisation declared it as a variant of interest on 14 June 2021, after cases began to spread more rapidly. In a report shared on this date, the WHO said: “Lambda has been associated with substantive rates of community transmission in multiple countries, with rising prevalence over time concurrent with increased Covid-19 incidence.”
How many Lambda cases have been detected in the UK?
On 6 August 2021, the UK government updated figures to make a total of eight Lambda Coronavirus cases in the UK, all of which were apparently linked to overseas travel. This stands the same from when numbers were reported on 9 July. There have been no deaths in the UK relating to the strain, and out of these eight people, just one visited A&E as a result of contracting the virus strain.
Does the vaccine work against the Lambda variant?
It is believed so, yes. A study was carried out on the mRNA vaccines (including both the Pfizer and Moderna kinds), and the results showed that they were indeed effective against the Lambda variant.
I’m 34 and the Covid Delta variant almost killed me – this is my story
People who have had the CoronaVac vaccine – mostly used in Asian countries – however, might not be covered, after a different study found that mutations within the Lambda variant were resistant to the neutralising antibodies that this particular vaccine elicits.
Further studies are set to be carried out, but so far, it looks as though the standard UK vaccines will protect you.
How transmissible is the Lambda variant?
While it’s not particularly prevalent in the UK just yet, it has affected a huge proportion of South America, suggesting it’s just as transmissible as the Delta variant. In fact, early studies suggest that it has mutations that could actually make it more transmissible than the original strain. We won’t go into the science, but know that it comes down to a ‘spike protein’ responsible for infecting our cells, which binds more easily to the gateways in our body that allow Covid-19 strains to enter.
That said, these studies are only a scratch on the surface and can’t be deemed as conclusive, while on 6 August 2021, the UK government declared that the Delta variant still remained accountable for approximately 99 per cent of cases in the country.
Will the Coronavirus vaccine affect my period? All the questions you have about the jab’s impact on your cycle, answered
What are symptoms of the Lambda variant?
To date, all the classic Coronavirus symptoms apply to the Lambda variant, too.
According to the NHS, these include:
- A high temperature: you feel hot to touch on your chest or back.
- A new, continuous cough: you cough a lot for more than an hour, or have three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: you may notice you can’t smell or taste anything, or that things smell or taste different to normal.
For information and advice related to Covid-19, visit NHS.uk, the World Health Organisation’s website, or speak to your GP.