COVID-19: Lambda variant detected in the UK
The Lambda variant – known as C.37 – was first identified in Peru and has been detected in samples dating back to as early as December 2020.
The Covid-19 variant has become dominant in Peru – where it accounts for more than 80 per cent of new infections.
The Lambda variant has now been detected in at least 26 countries including the UK.
A Variant of Interest
The WHO has designated the Lambda variant as a variant of interest.
And Public Health England (PHE) has announced it was a “variant under investigation” based on a number of mutations to the spike protein which enables the virus to attach to human cells.
Of most concern to scientists is its “potential increased transmissibility or possible increased resistance to neutralising antibodies” – meaning it could spread faster and be more resistant to vaccines or antibody treatments.
But PHE said, “there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective.”
Lambda variant in the UK
There have been eight cases detected in the UK as of 2 July – although it is likely to be an underestimate.
Four cases were from London, one was from the South West and one was from the West Midlands. All six were linked to overseas travel.
“Cases are managed in line with the approach for emerging variants with review of contact tracing, additional data collection, testing of identified contacts, and consideration of targeted case finding as required where there is evidence of community transmission,” said PHE.
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