After ravaging South America, a coronavirus strain has been found in the United Kingdom.
At least six cases of the so-called Lambda strain have been documented in the United Kingdom, all of which have been connected to overseas travel.
Public Health England (PHE) has designated the strain as a Covid Variant Under Investigation as a result of the discovery.
Lambda (C.37) was initially discovered in Peru and has since been detected in at least 25 additional nations, with some sources stating it is currently present in 29.
On June 14, the World Health Organization designated it as a Global Variant of Interest.
Health officials warn that it carries mutations such as L452Q and F490S that may make it more transmissible and resistant to immunizations.
Although scientists have not yet gathered sufficient information to be confident, PHE is conducting laboratory tests to learn more.
Lambda has surpassed all other variants in Peru, accounting for 81% of occurrences in the South American country.
In the previous 60 days, it has accounted for 32% of cases in Chile, while Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, and Ecuador continue to see fast growth.
However, WHO virologist Jairo Mendez-Rico told DW that there is currently no evidence that the lambda version is more aggressive.
‘It is probable that it has a greater infection rate than gamma or delta, but we do not yet have enough credible data to compare it to them.’
The WHO presently classifies Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Delta (B.1.617.2), and Gamma (P.1) as ‘variants of concern.’
This means they have a higher rate of transmission, are more difficult to treat, and can cause more serious sickness.
Mr Mendez-Rico continued, ‘While it is plausible, there is currently no evidence that variations are more harmful or result in greater mortality.
‘It seems anticipated that SARS-CoV-2 will become more transmissible but not necessarily more harmful to the host as it evolves.’
It comes after India designated a Covid strain known as ‘Delta Plus’ as a variant of concern
Delta Plus has been detected in 10 countries – including 41 instances in the United Kingdom – since its discovery in Europe in April.
The version – also known as AY.1 – is believed to be more transmissible than the original Delta virus, which has recently caused an outbreak in the United Kingdom.
The original Delta strain is up to 60% more contagious than the Alpha variation discovered in December last year in Kent.
Public Health England is also investigating the strain but has not yet assigned it a ‘Plus’ label, according to Metro.co.uk.
The World Health Organization, it added, considers it to be a part of the existing Delta variation.