Thursday, October 28

Lambda variant: how effective are vaccines against this variant of the coronavirus

The Lambda variant has been detected in more than 40 countries.

Photo: Ricardo Maldonado Rozo / EFE

One of the main obstacles that the issue of the coronavirus pandemic has represented in finding the appropriate method to end it are the mutations that the virus has had throughout this little more than a year and a half, making it more transmissible. and dangerous.

At present, practically all over the world there have been new waves of COVID-19 generated by the already worrying Delta variant, This is why the different governments of the world encourage the population to be vaccinated with the intention of trying to stop the contagion and prevent serious disease from developing.

But in South America it is not only the Delta variant that is being fought, since it is also facing its own variant that was generated in this part of the world and that has been named Lambda.

The variant of COVID Lambda was registered for the first time in Peru Almost 2 months ago and it has been spreading throughout South America and its presence has even been detected in 40 countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) qualified this mutation as a variant of interest on June 14, which means that it presents changes in its genome that can affect the transmission of the virus, the severity of the disease or symptoms and its ability to escape the immune system. There are numerous studies underway on this new variant, but most experts point out that its danger is similar to that of the Delta.

In fact, this Wednesday, WHO indicated that at the moment there are no reasons for Lambda to be considered a variant of concern and clarified that it has not shown to be especially transmissible and there are no indications that it may become dominant.

“The important thing (of a variant) is to see how it circulates and if the transmission trips. What we see in the case of the Lambda variant is that it does not seem to take off when it is reported in a country, even in Peru, where it was first detected ”, explained Dr. Maria Von Kerkohve, an epidemiologist who works in the Health Emergencies Program. of the WHO.

How effective are vaccines against the Lambda variant?

It is more than proven that anti-COVID vaccines have a great capacity to stop the disease and the spread of the virus.

Despite what said by the WHO in the last hours about Lambda, a study carried out at the University of Tokyo has set off alarms regarding this variant of coronavirus, since it proves that it is more infectious and resistant to vaccines than the original variant of the virus that emerged at the end of 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan .

Specifically, on the subject of the possible resistance to vaccines of this mutation, in laboratory experiments, the work of the analysts has determined that 3 mutations in Lambda spike protein, known as RSYLTPGD246-253N, 260 L452Q and F490S, resist the antibodies generated by vaccines in the human body.

Likewise, regarding its high contagiousness and transmissibility, the research determines that 2 additional Lambda mutations, T76I and L452Q, make this variant more infectious, although it is not clear whether it could be more contagious than the Alpha variant, originating in the Kingdom. Kingdom, or Delta, emerged in India.

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