Why health officials are watching new 'lambda' coronavirus variant By Rachael Rettner - Senior Writer about 20 hours ago
The variant carries a number of mutations that could potentially aid its spread.
A coronavirus variant known as “lambda” is gaining the attention of health officials as it spreads around the world.
The variant, also known as C.37, was first detected in Peru in August 2020, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). On June 14, the agency designated C.37 a global “variant of interest,” or VOI, and named it lambda.
VOI means the variant is increasingly showing up in communities and has mutations that are predicted to have some effect on viral characteristics, such as increased transmissibility. In contrast, officials use the term “variant of concern,” or VOC, once reliable data shows that the variant has increased transmissibility — such as what’s been seen with the delta variant — or other worrying features.
So far, lambda has been detected in 29 countries, with high levels of spread in South American countries. In recent months, the lambda variant was detected in 81% of COVID-19 cases in Peru that underwent genetic sequencing, according to the WHO. And in Chile, the variant was detected in about one-third of cases, the WHO said.
Most recently, the variant popped up in the United Kingdom. …