As the coronavirus pandemic continues, infections caused by the Lambda variant have emerged in the United States, including Texas, where the Houston Methodist Hospital reported its first case last month.
There’s still a lot to learn about Lambda, but here’s what we know so far:
So far, this is rare in the United States: The variant is not as worrisome as the Delta variant in the United States, which has seen an increase in cases nationwide, but early studies suggest it has mutations that make it more transmissible than the strain of origin of the coronavirus.
“Lambda has mutations which are of concern, but this variant remains quite rare in the United States despite its presence for several months,” wrote Dr. Preeti Malani, health officer in the division of infectious diseases at the University of Michigan. to Ann Arbor, in a statement. email on Friday.
We do not know how transmissible it is: it “It is difficult to know for sure how transmissible Lambda is and how well vaccines work. So far it appears that Lambda is more transmissible than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, ”which is similar to Delta and other variants, wrote Malani, an expert with the Infectious Diseases Society of America. . SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
“Fortunately, studies suggest that currently available vaccines remain protective. We learned during the pandemic that things can change quickly, so controlling the spread of COVID-19 in general will help manage Lambda, ”Malani wrote. “As long as there is an uncontrolled spread of SARS-CoV-2, we will see more variants in the future. The only way out is a widespread vaccination to control the spread and prevent another mutation in SARS-CoV-2. It’s a race between vaccinating a sufficient amount of the world and developing new variants less susceptible to countermeasures. “
About vaccines: So far, data remains mixed on how vaccines protect against the Lambda variant, and scientists say they need to study this further.
In July, researchers wrote in a lab study that they had found evidence that people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine could benefit from a booster dose to better protect them from the new variants. of the coronavirus, including the Lambda variant. The study was performed in a laboratory and does not reflect the actual effects of the vaccine.
Nathaniel Landau of New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and colleagues said their blood tests from vaccinated volunteers showed that at least some of the newer variants emerging could escape the protection offered by a single dose of the drug. Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine. A boost from a second dose of J&J vaccine, or even with Moderna or Pfizer, could help, the researchers reported.
In the study, the Beta, Delta, Delta plus and Lambda variants showed only “modest” resistance to the antibodies caused by the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines, suggesting that the vaccines still work.
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