As the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, causes swelling numbers of hospitalizations, overwhelming ICUs in many areas, another “variant of interest” is also capturing attention. The Lambda variant, which is spreading rapidly throughout South America, is a variant to watch. As described by Forbes:
“The Lambda variant, or C.37, was first identified in Peru as early as August 2020. Initially, Lambda infections were relatively rare. However, in recent months Lambda has become the dominant variant in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia. Lambda has been identified in most US States, though the strain has yet to gain traction. Lambda now accounts for less than one percent of all infections but given its trajectory in Latin America, it is well watching closely.”
In a July 14, 2021, article National Geographic reported that Lambda, “which has largely slid under the radar for the past nine months, is now causing almost all new infections in Peru.” More specifically, it’s responsible for more than 90% of the new COVID-19 cases in that country. As National Geographic describes, Lambda has risen in Peru from less than 0.5% in December. Further, “the country has already suffered the world’s worst mortality due to COVID-19; the disease has killed about 0.54% of the population.”
Lambda variant in the U.S.
As of August 6, 2021, there were under 1,100 cases in the U.S. linked to the Lambda variant. Lambda, currently, is considered a “variant of interest” unlike Delta which is a “variant of concern.” Nevertheless, while the numbers are limited, the classification of interest versus concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) has researchers sounding more of an alarm in a paper posted on bioRxiv ahead of peer review: “SARS-CoV-2 Lambda variant exhibits higher infectivity and immune resistance,”
The impact of aerosolized pathogens
How do these variants transmit so quickly? As addressed in a new study in Clinical Infectious Diseases, it cannot be understated just how much aerosols (aerosolized pathogens) have caused the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Learn more about that study and what the researchers recommend to help mitigate the spread (including upper air UV) here.
As always, we are watching the progress of all variants and will update as new information becomes available. To learn more about Aerapy UV technology for infection control, contact us for a free UV consultation.