In concerning development, a COVID-19 infection involving Lambda variant has been reported at a Houston hospital, making it the first-ever case of the variant in the state. This comes as more coronavirus cases were reported in the city and other parts of the United States concerning the Delta variant.
The Lambda variant was found at Houston Methodist Hospital. The facility confirmed the presence of the first case caused by this variant just this week. There is no additional information regarding the patient, their condition, and where they could have possibly gotten it.
Apart from this, more than 100 patients suffering from COVID-19 have been admitted to hospitals in the past few days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t listed Lambda on its variant tracker yet, but the World Health Organization (WHO) had recently called it a “variant of interest.” The Lambda variant was first identified in Peru where it is responsible for more than 80% of COVID-19 cases since April 2021, according to a WHO report in June. Lambda has also been identified in other South American countries, including Chile, Ecuador, as well as Argentina. The infection in Houston is one of about 730 lambda cases recorded in the U.S. so far, according to data from GISAID. It tracks variants globally.
The label “variant of interest” means that Lambda has several genetic mutations that affect the coronavirus spike protein, which could make this strain much more transmissible than the original version.
“However, there is currently limited evidence on the full extent of the impact associated with these genomic changes, and further robust studies into the phenotypic impacts are needed to better understand the impact on countermeasures and to control the spread,” the WHO report said, adding that more studies are needed to validate the continued effectiveness of vaccines.
The most effective way to protect oneself from these emerging variants is to get vaccinated, wear a mask, practice good hygiene, and avoid crowds.