A new COVID-19 variant, Lambda, has entered the Philippines. After the wide spread of the Delta variant in our country, we really don’t need another one but here it is.
The first Lambda case in the Philippines was a 35-year-old-female who tested positive in July but is now recovered.
Lambda, also known as “C.37”, is now all over the news after the World Health Organization (WHO) noted its rapid spread and detection in 29 countries including Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Now, the question is how do we differentiate Lambda to the Delta variant? Here is what we know so far.
VOC and VOI
VOC and VOI stand for Variant of Concern and Variant of Interest, respectively. This is a classification made by the WHO to classify covid-19 variants.
The Delta variant is classified as VOC whereas the Lambda variant is classified by WHO as VOI, a level below VOC, for now.
According to the WHO description, VOI are variants with genetic changes that are predicted or known to affect virus characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity, immune escape, diagnostic or therapeutic escape.
In summary, Lambda have caused significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 infection and has the potential for disease severity.
Less Infectious than Delta Variant
Comparing Lambda to the Delta variant in transmissibility, laboratory results shows that Lambda is less infectious than the hyper transmissible Delta variant but more infectious than the original covid-19 virus due to its unique new gene deletions and mutations.
Although, there is still no accurate way to know how lambda’s different genetic profile will affect community transmission, severity of symptoms or vaccine resistance around the world.
Different Studies suggestions
- Lambda may be potentially resistant to current vaccines than the original coronavirus. (Laboratory studies from Japan and Chile)
- Sinovac vaccine did not work as well as it did with the original virus when tested against Lambda. (Chile research)
- Johnson and Johnson vaccine was less effective against Lambda and the Delta variant compared to the Pfizer and Moderna. (New York University research)
Note: These studies are not yet peer-reviewed
Just because vaccines appear less effective doesn’t mean they don’t work. Now that different variants are popping everywhere around the world, it is still a known fact that vaccines protect everyone against severe illness and stops deaths.