DNA Explainer: Know all about Lambda variant of COVID-19, its symptoms

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the existence of a new COVID-19 variant ‘Lambda’. This variant was first found in South America and is labelled as a ‘Variant of Interest’ (VOI) by WHO. The global health body has indicated that ‘Lambda’ will be closely monitored in terms of infection strength before being added to the group of ‘variables of concern.’ which includes the B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), B.1.427 (Epsilon), and B.1.429 (Epsilon).

Lambda Variant:

Lambda was initially detected in Peru in August 2020 and has since been reported in 29 countries around the world, mostly in Latin America, including Argentina and Chile. According to experts, Lambda variant has multiple mutations in the spike protein. These mutations could have an impact on the transmissibility of the variant.

In its weekly bulletin, WHO mentioned that “Lambda has been associated with substantive rates of community transmission in multiple countries, with rising prevalence over time concurrent with increased COVID-19 incidence.”

It also added, “Lambda carries a number of mutations with suspected phenotypic implications, such as a potential increased transmissibility or possible increased resistance to neutralizing antibodies.”

How many cases have been recorded in the UK?

England has reported six cases of Lambda variant according to the data published by Public Health England (PHE) on Friday (June 25). PHE has also designated the Lambda (C.37) variant as a ‘variant under investigation (VUI)’.

The latest PHE update stated: “PHE is carrying out laboratory testing to better understand the impact of mutations on the behaviour of the virus.

“All appropriate public health interventions will be undertaken, including additional contact tracing and targeted testing.

“Where cases have been identified, additional follow-up of cases, testing of contacts and if required targeted case finding will be deployed to limit its spread.”

Lambda variant- Symptoms:

Public Health England (PHE) said that there is currently no evidence the Lambda variant causes more severe disease or renders the current vaccines less effective.

The main symptoms of coronavirus the NHS advises people to look out for are:

– A high temperature.- A new, continuous cough.- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

Most people with COVID symptoms will have at least one of these listed symptoms.

Everyone is advised to get tested regularly to prevent infection from being passed on to others, as someone in three people with COVID-19 does not experience symptoms.

Anyone who has COVID symptoms should self-isolate, along with any members of their household.

People with COVID symptoms should also get a PCR test as soon as possible to verify whether they have COVID-19.

What does WHO recommend? 

“Virus evolution continues to be expected, and the more SARS-CoV-2 circulates, the more opportunities it has to evolve. Reducing transmission through established and proven disease control methods such as those outlined in the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, as well as avoiding introductions into animal populations, are fundamental to and crucial aspects of the global strategy to reduce the occurrence of mutations that have negative public health implications,” WHO said.

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