Fast-spreading Lambda variant puzzles Covid scientists

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The fast spreading Lambda variant of the coronavirus has left scientists puzzled over its ‘unusual set of mutations’.

World Health Organisation scientists are puzzled over the new strain which is spreading quickly. The Lambda mutation also known as C.37, was recently discovered in Peru but since then the new mutant of the coronavirus has spread to nearly 30 countries in the space of only four weeks.

The new strain has been detected in Argentina and Chile, and also in the UK. Public Health England have already confirmed a worrying six cases of the new variant. According to reports from Reuters, five of the people infected with the new strain had travelled abroad.

The new variant has usual mutations. “One reason why it is hard to make sense of the threat from Lambda, using computational and lab data, is that it has rather an unusual set of mutations, compared with other variants,” said The Financial Times, quoting Jeff Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at London’s Wellcome Sanger Institute.

“Lambda has a unique pattern of seven mutations in the spike protein that the virus uses to infect human cells. Researchers are particularly intrigued by one mutation called L452Q, which is similar to the L452R mutation believed to contribute to the high infectiousness of the Delta variant.”

The new variant seems to have a high transmission rate. According to the WHO, the Lambda variant is responsible for over 80 per cent of all new infections in Peru. “That would suggest its rate of transmission is higher than any other variant,” said Pablo Tsukayama, from the Cayetano Heredia university in Peru.


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Alex
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Alex Glenn

Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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