As several countries are dealing with a surge in the Delta variant of COVID-19, first found in India, another variant has spread across several countries. That variant is Lambda, which was designated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a 'variant of interest' on June 16.

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Where did the Lambda COVID-19 variant originate?

Earlier known as  C.37, the Lambda COVID-19 variant was first reported in Peru in December 2020. 

How many countries have reported this variant?

As per the GISAID, 31 countries have recorded this variant. Other than Peru, the countries where the Lambda variant has been found in countries such as Chile, the US, Germany, Mexico and Israel.

Has India reported this variant?

As of July 7, India hasn't recorded a single case of the Lambda variant.

What do we know about this variant?

According to WHO, the Lambda variant has seven significant mutations. For comparison, the Delta variant had three. This might mean greater transmissibility of the Lambda variant or its escape from antibodies.

However, currently, enough information isn't available about it.

Does it escape the immune response generated by COVID vaccines?

Although solid information is scarce about the Lambda variant, researchers in Chile carried out a study on the Lambda variant and  CoronaVac, which is a COVID-19 vaccine developed in China. They found out that the mutations present in the spike protein of the strain conferred it with increased transmissibility and escape from antibodies triggered by the vaccine.

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Although the study involved just one vaccine, it gives an idea about how the Lambda variant functions.