New COVID-19 variant of interest identified in 29 countries - WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that a new variant of COVID-19, named Lambda, was identified in 29 countries and notably in South America where it is believed to have originated, Xinhua reports.
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.
In Chile, it was detected in 32 percent of all submitted sequences in the last 60 days, and only outclassed by the Gamma 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.