New Possibly Vaccine-Resistant COVID Variant is 'Serious Ongoing Threat,' Researchers Warn
© AP Photo / Rafiq MaqboolA woman along with a girl walk past a graffiti, depicting the coronavirus in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, April 6, 2021
© AP Photo / Rafiq Maqbool
A senior researcher from the University of Tokyo suggested that the Lambda variant "can be a potential threat to human society."
Japanese researchers have announced that the Lambda variant of COVID is highly infectious and more resistant to vaccines compared to the strain recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
According to Reuters, during experiments the researchers discovered that three mutations in Lambda's spike protein help the variant resist "neutralisation by vaccine-induced antibodies," while two additional mutations make it more infectious.
In a paper posted on bioRxiv ahead of a peer review, the researchers warned that, while WHO labeled Lambda as a "variant of interest", not "variant of concern", people "might not realise it is a serious ongoing threat," as the media outlet put it.
Senior researcher Kei Sato of the University of Tokyo also argued that "Lambda can be a potential threat to the human society."
This development comes as the Epsilon variant, first discovered in California, has spread to Pakistan and has also displayed a resistance to vaccines, NJ.com reports.
The media outlet notes, however, that previous studies have shown that vaccines “work against ‘variants of concern’” and “prevent serious illness, hospitalisation, and death in most breakthrough cases where a fully vaccinated person tests positive for the coronavirus.”
Earlier this week, Newsweek suggested that even more dangerous variants of the virus may yet emerge, pointing at, however low, the possible appearance of a "Doomsday variant" that could "shrug off vaccines, spread like wildfire, and leave more of its victims much sicker than anything we've yet seen."