Data shows that the so-called Lambda COVID strain could be more transmissible than the Delta, Alpha, and Gamma variants, Metro reports, citing health experts.
Moreover, COVID-19 vaccines may not offer sufficient protection against it.
“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,” the researchers from the University of Chile said as quoted by the paper.
Lambda accounted for 82 percent of COVID-19 cases in May and June in Peru, which has the world's highest death rate from coronavirus, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). In nearby Chile, it accounts for almost a third of recent cases.
The Lambda variant, formerly often referred to as C.37, was first discovered in Peru late last year. Since then, it has been detected in 27 countries, including the UK.