Delta Covid-19 variant is responsible for lockdowns in western Kenya, entire Uganda and Rwanda. Now Lambda variant is spreading across the globe at an alarming rate.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified each emerging variant as either a Variant of Concern (VOC) or a Variant of Interest (VOI).
Variant of Concern translates to a rise in transmissibility, an increase in fatality and a significant decrease in effectiveness of vaccines, therapy and other health measures.
Variant of Interest is Covid-19 variant with a genetic capability that affects characteristics of the virus such as disease severity, immune escape, transmissibility and diagnostic escape. WHO says VOI causes a consequential volume of community transmission. A global increase in cases poses a risk of large proportions to worldwide public health.
The Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants fall under Variants of Concern. Whereas the Eta, Iota, Kappa and Lambda fall under Variants of Interest.
The deadly Delta Covid-19 variant currently accounts for most cases of Coronavirus infections across the globe.
While cases of Variant of Interest are few, Lambda Covid-19 Variant is rapidly spreading across the world sparking fears of a new wave.
US reported first case of Lambda Covid-19 variant on Monday July 19th at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas state.
The Lambda variant was first detected in Peru in December 2020, it makes up 81% of Covid-19 cases sequenced in the South American nation since April 2021, according to a June WHO report.
Despite the report of the Lambda variant, experts at Houston Methodist say Delta is still the primary concern in US.
“The Lambda is the dominant variant in Peru and Peru has had a very difficult time with Covid-19. It shares mutations in common with the Alpha variants, the Beta, the Gamma, which is the dominant variant in Brazil,” Dr. Wesley Long, medical director of Diagnostic Microbiology at Houston Methodist, told ABC News.
“I don’t think there’s sufficient evidence at this point that we should be more concerned about lambda than delta, I still think delta is the primary concern for us. There’s a lot more evidence that we have that delta is much more contagious, the viral loads are much higher,” Dr. Long added.
The Lambda variant has been associated with substantive rates of community transmission in multiple countries, with rising prevalence over time.
WHO said in its June report that the Lambda Coronavirus variant had been detected in 29 countries.
Lambda has seven mutations on the spike protein, the mushroom-shaped projections on the outer shell of the virus that help it latch onto our cells and invade them. These mutations may make it easier for lambda to bind to our cells and make it harder for our antibodies to latch onto the virus and neutralise it. [sic]
The Delta variant, which was first detected in India in December 2020, nonetheless remains the most prevalent Covid-19 variant.
In East Africa, the Delta Covid-19 variant is responsible for lockdowns in western Kenya, entire Uganda and Rwanda.
In June, the Kenyan government revised the dusk-to-dawn curfew in 13 counties in Western Kenya to contain the spread of Delta Covid-19 variant.
Early that month, Museveni imposed a strict lockdown throughout Uganda as Delta Covid-19 variant caused infections to spiral out of control.
President Paul Kagame pulled a similar move like his Ugandan counterpart in July to totally lock down Rwanda as Delta Covid-19 variant spread rapidly across the tiny East African nation.