A new variant of COVID, known as Lambda, is being increasingly being seen by scientists and health experts as a new emerging threat. It is believed to have originated in Peru, which already has the world's highest mortality rate. The variant is said to be responsible for more than 80 per cent of the cases in Peru since April this year. Though this variant has not been detected in India yet, it has reportedly spread to more than 25 countries. Israel is the Asian country to have reported cases of the mutated virus. Experts are worried that the latest mutated variant "may be more infectious than Delta variant".
'Variant Of Interest'
Seven variants, including Lambda, have been categorised as a 'variant of interest' by the World Health Organisation (WHO). While the Lambda variant has seven noticeable mutations in the spike protein, the Delta variant (which originated in India) has three. The spikes might enhance the virus's transmissibility, the WHO stated. The other four variants namely Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta, have been tagged as 'variants of concern'. The Indian Express reported that researchers in Chile found that the Lambda Variant had increased infectivity than the Alpha and Gamma variants. Their study also noted that the Chinese-made CoronaVac had a reduced efficacy with the new variant.
Should India Be Worried?
Several countries in the world from where India receives frequent travellers have reported cases of the Lamba variant. If the new virus can bypass the immunity of Indian vaccines, it would mean that there would be a danger of deadlier mutations of the virus. A similar scenario is taking place in European nations, especially the UK. We will have to be extra careful to control the spread of a new variant by sticking to COVID norms and not letting our guard down. As the saying goes 'prevention is better than cure'.