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The “unusual mutations” of the deadly new strain of COVID-19 could make it vaccine-resistant – report

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According to scientists, a new strain of coronavirus contains “unusual mutations” which can make it more vaccine-resistant.

The study warned that the new strain contains “mutations present in the spike protein”. A mutant strain of the coronavirus is worrying scientists as it has developed “unusual mutations” that could help it reduce the vaccine effect.

The study suggests the Lambda variant, first discovered in Peru, is more contagious than the original strain of the virus.

Recent data has uncovered that the new variant is possibly more infectious than the Delta, Alpha and Gamma variants that were first discovered in India, the UK and Brazil.

According to the research, vaccines may be less protective against the Lambda strain than against the original version of the pathogen.

Scientists from the University of Chile, in Santiago, said in the study published on Thursday:

Our data show for the first time that mutations present in the spike protein of the Lambda variant confer escape to neutralising antibodies and increased infectivity.

Pablo Tsukayama, a molecular scientist at the Cayetano Heredia University in Lima stated the Lambda strain’s spread “would suggest its rate of transmission is higher than other variants”.

Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) adviser Jairo Méndez Rico stated in a statement:

At the moment there’s no evidence to suggest it’s more aggressive than other variants.

It’s possible that it has a higher rate of contagion but more work needs to be done on it.

According to the UK’s COVID-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the Lambda strain had an “unusual set of mutations, compared with other variants”.

Researchers further added that these mutations make it difficult to adequately assess the threat of the strain.

The Lambda variant was first discovered in Peru last December has now reached 27 countries.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Lambda accounted for 82 per cent of COVID-19 cases in May and June in Peru, which has the highest death rate from coronavirus in the world. Almost one-third of recent cases have been in Chile.

After the spread of the Lambda strain in South America there are worries over a lack of gene-sequencing labs in the region.

Without an increase in gene sequencing labs to track the variant properly, the Lambda strain could spread undetected.

Alarmingly, Latin America makes up 20 percent of global coronavirus cases, but only contains 8 percent of the world’s population.

The threat from coronavirus in the region is compounded by data that suggests only one in 10 Latin Americans have been fully vaccinated against the pathogen.

Director of the PAHO, Carissa Etienne, said last week:

While we’re seeing some reprieve from the virus in countries in the northern hemisphere, for most countries in our region the end remains a distant future.

Photo Illustration by Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images

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