The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that the coronavirus variant of COVID-19, commonly known as C.37, has been named Lambda. Lambda has been identified in 29 countries, most notably in South America where it is believed to have originated.
First identified in Peru, the Lambda lineage was classified as a global Variant of Interest on Monday due to an “elevated prevalence” in South America, the WHO said in its weekly update.
Lambda has been rampant in Peru where 81 percent of COVID-19 cases since April 2021 were associated with this variant, authorities reported.
In Chile, it was detected in 32 percent of all submitted sequences in the last 60 days, and only outclassed by the Gamma (P.1) variant which was first identified in Brazil. Other countries such as Argentina and Ecuador have also reported elevated prevalence of the new variant.
The WHO reported that the Lambda lineage carries mutations that might increase transmissibility or strengthen the virus’s resistance to antibodies.
However, evidence is too limited for the moment, the Geneva-based organization said, and more studies are required to understand better the Lambda variant.
** Our opinion: At the moment, the Sars-CoV-2 infection numbers in South America seem to be declining after peaking in June 2021. The Delta variant seems to be more of a threat internationally when you compare Latin America infection figures with the UK figures for example **
Lineage prevalence in Peru: