The Lambda COVID variant travels from Peru to California


As the coronavirus keeps mutating, another variant called the lambda has been isolated by the World Health Organization (WHO). First seen in Peru, the variant has crossed several shores of South America and has reached California. Public health officials in the Golden State say that at least 152 cases have been detected to date.


Although the lambda variant could be more infectious and transmissible than the original SARS-CoV-2 strain, there is no evidence as yet that it is as infectious as the delta strain which is still the fastest spreading variant in the nation and the state.


The lambda variant is also called C.37. It was originally reported in Peru a year ago. It spread through several South American countries and is now present in more than 30 countries around the world.


The WHO has declared this variant as a “variant of interest.” However the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not classified it as such as there are not many cases, as yet, across the nation. The delta variant has been classified as a “variant of concern” by both the WHO and the CDC.


Researchers say that the lambda variant’s new gene deletions and mutations might make it more infectious and transmissible when compared with the original “wild type” coronavirus. However, there are few studies conducted as it has not spread like the delta variant. So far, laboratory studies show that it spreads quickly and is resistant to vaccines, though it is a fact that the delta variant is also resistant to vaccines but vaccinated breakthrough cases generally have mild or no symptoms.


According to the California’s Department of Public Health, the cases with lambda variant were detected after gene sequencing are as follows but the state has not given a county wise break up.


  • September 2020 — 1
  • March 2021 — 10
  • April 2021 — 88
  • May 2021 — 43
  • June 2021 — 8
  • July 2021 — 2.


The GISAID, the public virus sequence base 40 states have reported 1,311 sequenced lambda cases since the pandemic began. The data base also reported that about one tenth of the one percent of the cases that were genetically sequenced were of the lambda variant.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash


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