A new variant of the COVID-19 virus known as Lambda which was first detected in Peru some eight months ago is now circulating in South Africa.
This was confirmed by Professor Barry Schoub during an interview on Tuesday on the POWER FM Breakfast show.
It has not yet been established if COVID-19 vaccines currently on the market were effective against it.
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While the Delta COVID-19 variant continues to wreak havoc in Zimbabwe, a major concern is the Lambda variant, which carries mutations that could potentially make it more resistant to neutralising antibodies.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Lambda COVID-19 variant accounts for around 81% of the cases reported since April in Peru and has since been added to the WHO’s list of variants of interest.
However, WHO believes such strains are less of a threat than its four “variants of concern” — Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta originally detected in the UK, South Africa, Brazil and India respectively — but says they need to be monitored closely.
WHO variants of concern:
And the seven variants of interest: