The chance of a virus evolving and mutatinga increases when it is widely circulating in a community and generating numerous illnesses. The more possibilities a virus has to propagate, the more it multiplies - and the more modifications it may go through.
L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer stated, "We've only observed one Lambda variation among samples analyzed in our laboratories, and this was a sample from June."
The fact that Lambda was sequenced in June and hasn't been discovered since suggests it's not spreading quickly - if at all - in a county where the strong Delta variation accounted for "99 percent of all sequences last week," according to Ferrer.
Studying the "New" Variant
Experts believe Lambda is more virulent and vaccine-resistant than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. But, at least so far, there's little evidence that it's as contagious as the delta variety that currently dominates California.
According to the World Health Organization, Lambda was first discovered in Peru in December 2020. It has become the most common strain in South America, has spread internationally, and is designated by WHO as a variation of interest. Scientists are still unsure whether Lambda is more transmissible than the Delta variant, but a July research that has yet to be peer-reviewed suggested Lambda may bypass vaccine immunity.
Spreading in South America
The fast development of Lambda in South American nations, including Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, and Brazil, grabbed headlines this summer. According to the WHO, it has been discovered in 29 countries, including Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
No Need to Panic
While the World Health Organization deems Lambda a "variant of interest," the CDC and California's public health agency do not.
Only a tiny number of positive test samples are genomically sequenced in Los Angeles each week, and these are highlighted by medical specialists as possible variations of interest or concern.
However, even statewide, the number of Lambda variations appears to be insignificant. For example, California examines a far more significant number of tests than its largest county, yet just 5% of all Covid cases were reviewed in July. In California, 99,260 samples had been sequenced as of August 11th. According to CalMatters, which cited state public health experts, just 152 Lambda cases have been discovered, with the first possibly occurring as early as 2020.
Lambda VS Delta
At least in laboratory testing, scientists believe Lambda is less contagious than the delta variation but more virulent than the original "wild-type" virus.
If Lambda came last year and is just now beginning to show up in large quantities in state and national sequencing, it has so far been out-competed by the more recently arrived and currently dominant Delta variation.
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