MANILA—The public must be vigilant against the Lambda variant, which could be more transmissible and could decrease the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines even among the youth, an infectious disease expert said Thursday.
The Lambda variant has similar mutations found in the Delta variant, said Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of adult infectious diseases department at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. Lambda remains a variant of interest, he added.
"May potential siya na magiging variant of concern dahil may mutations siya na nakikita doon sa spike protein. Medyo magkahawig din sa mga variant of concern," Solante told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(It has potential to become a variant of concern because it has mutations seen in the spike protein similar to those of variants of concern.)
"Puwede siyang mas makahawa at pwede maging resistant sa mga bakuna kagaya ng nakita sa variants of concern Alpha at Delta."
(It can be more transmissible and might be resistant to vaccines as we've seen from variants of concern Alpha and Delta.)
The elderly and persons with comorbidities are extremely vulnerable to the variant of interest, Solante said.
"Mag-ingat pa rin ang mga bata dahil meron din silang potential (na) mag-develop ng severe COVID," he added.
(Young people should be careful because they may also develop severe COVID.)
Meanwhile, San Lazaro Hospital has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases but not comparable to the March to April surge, Solante said.
"Maraming mga severe, critical. Isa 'yan sa tinitingnan namin ngayon . . . Hindi ito namimili ng edad. Kadalasan mga walang bakuna ang nadali dito," he said.
(Several patients are severe and critical, it's one of the things we're looking into right now...It does not choose the age of patients. Most of the time, the patients were unvaccinated.)
Some 9,825,466 persons have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while a total of 21,883,781 jabs have been administered as of Tuesday, government said.