MANILA, Aug 5 (Mabuhay) — The mutations of the Lambda coronavirus variant first detected in Peru are similar to those seen on the highly contagious Delta variant that first emerged in India, an infectious disease expert said Thursday.

Dr. Rontgene Solante said the Lambda variant, which has not yet been detected in the Philippines, remains to be a variant of interest and not a variant of concern unlike the Delta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.

“May potential siya na maging variant of concern dahil ‘yung mga mutations niya nakikita doon sa spike protein, medyo magkahawig din sa variant of concern,” Solante said in a radio interview.

“Puwede siyang mas makahawa at saka pwedeng maging resistant doon sa mga bakuna kagaya ng nakita doon sa mga variant of concern like Delta and Alpha,” he added.

Laboratory experiments earlier found that the Lambda’s mutations help it resist neutralization by vaccine-induced antibodies.

Solante, who is also a member of the country’s Vaccine Expert Panel, explained that this does not mean that COVID-19 vaccines are rendered useless by the Lambda variant.

Ang nakikita dito, mababawasan ang efficacy ng mga ibang bakuna doon sa nakitang mutation na magkahawig din sa Delta variant at saka sa Alpha variant… pero hindi naman talagang totally walang protection,” he assured.

(What we’ve seen here is that the efficacy of vaccines is reduced by the mutations similar to those on the Delta variant and Alpha variant… but it doesn’t mean there’s totally no protection.)

Solante urged the public, especially the elderly, persons with comorbidities, and children to keep their guard up against COVID-19, noting that cases are up at the San Lazaro Hospital though still not at the levels seen in March and April this year.

“Hindi namimili ng edad [ang COVID-19]. Kadalasan walang mga bakuna ‘yung na-admit dito, so siguro ingat lang talaga (COVID-19 knows no age. Usually, those who are unvaccinated the ones admitted, so we really need to be careful),” he said. (MNS)

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