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April 13, 2023
The lambda variant, a COVID-19 mutation first identified in Peru that is quickly popping up worldwide, has been highlighted by governing bodies like the World Health Organizations (WHO) as a variant of interest. But a new study suggests that it may be resistant to some vaccines.
A preprinted whitepaper published in late July focused on the mutation that distinguishes the lambda variant, denoted as C.37, within its S protein, found in the cell’s binding receptor. The mutation at this location on the virus is associated with being resistant to immunization efforts. Using data from the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data database, researchers found three mutations within the lambda spike protein that could mean resistance to antibodies induced in humans by vaccines.
The preprint study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, shows that the Lambda variant is capable of bypassing the neutralizing antibodies that can fight off the virus. Researchers said that multiple mutations in spike protein, like those found in Lambda and other variants, are more resistant to antibodies in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.1 The researchers were able to demonstrate this in a lab setting.
Robert Quigley, MD, DPhil, senior vice president and global medical director at International SOS, tells Verywell that the findings are not surprising but should be observed critically. “We’re seeing a trend, which is what all of us in the scientific community expected, that the longer [COVID-19] is allowed to prevail, we’re going to start getting towards vaccines that may not be efficacious against this SARS-CoV-2 viral variant,” Quigley says.
The researchers did not specify whether the Lambda variant was more dangerous than Delta. However, they pointed out that since the World Health Organization (WHO) designates Lambda as a Variant of Interest (VOI)2 rather than a Variant of Concern (VOC).
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: HOUSTON PUBLIC MEDIA