Lambda Covid variant detected in the UK

The new variant of Covid has spread rapidly since it was discovered in Peru back in December 2020 and has spread to at least 30 other countries.

Officials in Latin America are concerned over the discovery of the new variant because of its “unusual” set of mutations.

In late June, Public Health England (PHE) began treating it as a "variant under investigation”.

Investigations are taking place to find out if this new variant is more transmissible than other strains, and whether the antibodies provided by the current Coronavirus vaccinations will fight against this new variant too.

Currently, across the UK, the delta variant is the most dominant for Covid cases with the Lambda variant only just starting to appear.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Lambda Covid variant.

What is the Lambda Covid variant?

The new variant, also known to scientists as C.37, was first discovered in Peru and now counts for 80% of cases there, with it migrating further into the UK and Europe.

Scientists are investigating further to see if it’s possible that this new variant is more infectious than previous variants.

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Scientists explain that this is due to the "potential increased transmissibility or possible increased resistance to neutralising antibodies”.

It is also “characterised by mutations in the spike protein” and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has considered it as a variant of interest.

With the “unusual” set of mutations, scientists are concerned over the transmission rate and if previous Covid vaccines will work against the protection of this new variant.

However, PHE has said, "there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective."

What are the Symptoms?

No new symptoms have been linked to the Lambda covid variant and symptoms are said to be the same as the other variants.

The three key covid symptoms remain as: a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss or change in sense of smell or taste.

People suffering from Covid-19 can experience one or all three of the above symptoms.

However, it has recently been reported that those who test positive after having both doses of the vaccine display different symptoms.

As people across the UK continue to receive their first and second dose of the Covid vaccine, some can experience flu-like symptoms after receiving the jab.

These include runny nose, headache, sneezing or sore throat.

Everyone is encouraged to get tested if they develop any of these symptoms.

How many UK cases are there?

The latest PHE update has only confirmed eight cases and suspected cases of the Lambda variant in the UK, all of which are in England.

The public health body’s last report confirmed six cases had been traced, between February 23 and June 7.

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Four of these were found in London, one in the South West of England and another in the West Midlands.

It has also been confirmed that no deaths have been reported within 28 days of any of these cases.

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