The variant of the Lambda coronavirus, widespread in Latin America, has not yet caused much concern, even the WHO has identified it only as “deserving special attention.” But recently, this strain was discovered in the UK, and this fact compels us to pay close attention to it.
A new strain is approaching Russia? The “MK” edition was looking for the answer to this question, and not only Russians will be interested in the findings of its investigation. Konstantin Semenov, a molecular biologist, dotted all the i’s from the very first words:
“Among the options that WHO now ranks among the host of concerns are Alpha, Beta and Delta. They are already called “coronavirus heavyweights.” According to a number of scientists and population observations, Delta today occupies a leading position in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Variants to watch out for include Kappa, Iota, and Lambda. Researchers are monitoring their prevalence as they can pose a global threat. Fortunately, while not all mutations of the coronavirus interfere with the effectiveness of the immune response caused by vaccination, some, for example, make the virus more contagious, that is, infectious. And yet there are already reasons for concern. “
The lambda variant has already been discovered in more than 30 countries. The truth is mainly on the American continent. But last Friday, the first 6 infected were found in the UK, which is both suggestive and alarming. According to Semenov, the resistance of the strain to antibodies obtained as a result of vaccination or disease is provided by 8 mutations, one of which is highly infectious. It is she who can be safely called responsible for the rapid spread of Lambda in Latin America.
Recently, the scientific work of Dr. Priyom Bose, a molecular biologist and biotechnologist from the University of Madras (India), was published. In it, he draws attention to the fact that the Lambda variant of SARS-CoV-2 has a higher infectivity and immune resistance. As an example, the scientist cites Chile, a country where 60% of the population received at least one coronavirus vaccine. However, in the spring, a large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 occurred in the country, which, according to Bose, is due to the ability of Lambda to elude the immune response of the vaccinated organism.
The scientist believes that the main characteristics of the Lambda variant are the transmission rate of the virus and its resistance to antibodies – to suppress it, one and a half times more antibodies are required than to neutralize the unmutated variant. Bose notes:
“To understand whether a variant will infect a large number of people, it is important to identify two of its characteristics, namely, increased viral infectivity and the ability to evade the immune response. Recent studies show that the Lambda variant possesses both of these virological features. “
And here is what microbiologist Victoria Doronina, assistant of the Department of Science of the Pedagogical Faculty of Manchester Metropolitan University, told about Lambda:
“The lambda variant is being distributed in Latin American countries. It is highly infectious, but most worrisome is that it is spreading to Chile, where about 60% of the population is vaccinated. However, in Chile, 93% of all vaccinated are vaccinated with the Chinese vaccine CoronaVac, the rest by Pfizer. 60% means the first dose, and after the first dose, the effectiveness of CoronaVac is 3%. That is, people relaxed after the first dose, dropped all restrictions. The equivalent of KoronaVaka in Russia is the vaccine created by the Chumakov Institute. How dangerous is the Lambda option for Russia? Highly infectious variants began to appear in Latin America a year ago. But due to the reduction in air traffic, they did not spread in Europe, including Russia. For Russia, the Delta (Indian) variant is a much greater danger. And British experience shows that vaccination with a DNA vaccine significantly reduces the number of cases and the severity of the course of the disease. There is such a vaccine in Russia ”.
But not all Russian experts are unambiguous in their attitude to the new strain. Some still consider an optimistic scenario to be probable, while others are not at all ready to assess the real danger. One of them notes the absence of any significant scientific information in the publications of major publications:
“If something appears, then it will be possible to assess its prospects. But so far Delta is much more worrisome. ”
In the meantime, the research center “Vector” of Rospotrebnadzor called “doubtful” the likelihood of displacing the delta by Lambda. Maybe just for now, because according to official data in Russia, not a single case of Lambda has been registered to date.