The WHO classified C.37 as a “variant of interest” after it appeared in a number of countries simultaneously. In Peru, where the lambda variant was identified in August, it now accounts for 82% of new infections.
“So far we have seen no indication that the lambda variant is more aggressive,” WHO virologist Jairo Mendez-Rico told DW. “It is possible that it may exhibit higher infection rates, but we don’t yet have enough reliable data to compare it to gamma or delta.”
Alpha (B.1.1.7), beta (B.1.351) delta(B.1.617.2) and gamma (P.1) are categorized as “variants of concern” by the WHO. The classification indicates that they are more transmissible and more difficult to treat and can lead to more serious illness.
Many scientists believe that the coronavirus pandemic won’t be over until at least 80% of the world’s population has been vaccinated. Variants like lambda could continue to emerge until that is achieved.
Virologist Pablo Tsukayama said lambda was more transmissible, which had helped it spread so quickly in Peru: “With 187,000 dead and the highest mortality rates in the world, we are the country that has struggled most when it comes to the coronavirus. Therefore, it is probably no wonder that the new variant has gotten its start here.” Latin America — with more than 1 million coronavirus deaths already — could become the new epicenter of coronavirus variants.
– DEUTSCHE WELLE