The Covid-19 variant known as Lambda was first detected in Peru in December last year, and has made its way to 31 countries since. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed that the variant has not been detected in South Africa.
“We continue to monitor the data and perform sequencing, and the public will be advised of any developments duly. During this time, it’s imperative to not panic or spread misinformation and continue adhering to the same preventative methods,” the NICD said.
The SARS-CoV-2 #LambdaVariant (lineage C.37) was classified as a variant of interest by the @WHO and is currently increasing in prevalence in South American and other countries. This Lambda variant has not been detected in South Africa. #COVID19SA pic.twitter.com/swkljMeCIX
— NICD (@nicd_sa) July 7, 2021
In a presentation to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) by Professor Tulio de Oliveira and Dr Richard Lessells, it was revealed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) named Lambda a variant of interest on June 14.
Scientists and health experts are closely monitoring the developments around it, News24 reports.
As the WHO explains, variants of interest are those “identified to cause significant community transmission or multiple Covid-19 clusters in multiple countries, with increasing relative prevalence alongside increasing number of cases over time, or other apparent epidemiological impacts to suggest an emerging risk to global public health”.
In the case of Peru, the country had experienced a high mortality rate even before the Lambda variant was detected. This led the two researchers to maintain that there was no evidence to support speculation that Lambda was the cause of the high mortality rate, News24 adds.
De Oliveira and Lessells added that research by Public Health England shows that currently there is “no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective.”
On the other hand, variants of concern such as Beta and Delta needs to be monitored closely, as is evident in the highly transmissible Delta variant that’s sweeping through South Africa.