MOSCOW, July 31. /TASS/. The likelihood of displacing the Delta strain of coronavirus with the Lambda variant is doubtful, a representative of the Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology told TASS.
Earlier, Japanese biologists discovered that the lambda strain has a stronger infectivity and is able to hide from the immune system.
"Currently, the lambda strain is absent in Russia. The World Health Organization does not classify the lambda strain as a variant of concern (VOC). The fact that the lambda strain will replace the delta strain seems doubtful," the Vector center said in a statement.
The lambda strain was first discovered in Peru late last summer. Before the advent of the delta variant, it accounted for the majority of infections in Peru and about a third of new cases in Argentina and Chile. Its genome contains a set of eight key mutations that are believed to increase the infectiousness of the virus.
Four SARS-CoV-2 stains are the Variants of Concern. These strains are associated with an increase in transmissibility, an increase in "virulence or change in clinical disease presentation," or a "decrease in effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics," according to the WHO.
Last week, the WHO released an epidemiological bulletin where it noted that these coronavirus mutations were spreading to more countries across the globe. Thus, in a period from July 14 to 20, the number of countries reporting cases of the Delta variant, first identified in October 2020 in India, increased from 111 to 124. The Alpha variant, spotted in Great Britain in September 2020, was circulating in 180 world nations as of July 20. The Beta variant, which was first confirmed in South Africa in September 2020, was found in 130 countries as of July 20 versus 123 on July 14. And the Gamma variant, originating from Brazil, expanded its geography from 75 to 78 countries over a span of seven days.
The WHO’s list of Variants of Interest, or those with serious mutations or widely spread, includes the Eta, Iota, Kappa, and Lambda variants.