A new study joins a growing body of evidence that the lambda variant of the coronavirus has evaded the COVID-19 vaccines.

What is the lambda variant?

Does lambda evade vaccines?

The study — which was not peer-reviewed but published on bioRxiv, which shares preliminary scientific reports — suggests the spike protein of the lambda variant is different than other COVID-19 variants, which makes it easier for lambda to latch onto cells and cause infection.

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The lambda variant is spreading in the U.S. What are the symptoms?
  • The scientists reviewed the genetic sequence of the lambda variance and compared it to the spike protein of the original coronavirus mutation, according to News-Medical, which reviews studies and preliminary reports. The study found specific changes that make it easier for the variant to bind to cells.
  • Specifically, the variant has two mutations within it that can make it evade vaccines, making it less likely that immunity could stop the spread of the virus.

More research on lambda vs. COVID-19 vaccine

A separate study — which was also published through bioRxiv but has not been peer-reviewed — found the lambda variant has three mutations that could make it resist antibodies, according to Reuters.

The researchers, who worked at a lab in Japan, warned that the lambda variant should be considered a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization and not a “variant of interest,” which is its current ranking.

Will lambda spread fast?

There’s some belief among experts that the lambda variant of the novel coronavirus might not spread fast because of the delta variant, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

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Dr. Anna Durbin, a professor in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Newsweek the lambda variant will face a problem from spreading if enough people become immune to the delta variant.

  • Lambda “is going to run into a problem here in the U.S. and that is the delta variant,” Durbin said.
  • “These viruses are all competing with each other for advantage to be the one that survives,” Durbin told Newsweek. “We know that the lambda variant has some of the same mutations as the delta variant that we think (will) allow it to be more transmissible, so it would be difficult to outcompete the delta variant.”