Is Lambda variant more transmissible, resistant to vaccine? DOH says still under study

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2021 01:18 PM

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MANILA – The World Health Organization is still gathering data on whether COVID-19 Lambda variant is more transmissible or resistant to vaccines, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

The Philippines confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 Lambda variant on August 15.

Dr. Alethea de Guzman, head of the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau, said that a study in Peru--where 70 to 80 percent of the cases are of the Lambda variant, showed the vaccines are effective against it, but only if the patient gets two full doses of the COVID-19 jab.

“It’s a peer reviewed study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and it is conducted in Peru and the reason why it’s that very important is that this is where the Lambda was first detected and that’s where majority of the variants are actually positive for Lambda.”

“And in that study, where they followed up those they have vaccinated up to almost 90 days after they got their first vaccination, it showed that if you had the full 2 doses, it can be effective from around 85% against ICU (intensive care unit) admissions, against hospitalizations, and against even death,” she explained.

“So that’s why it’s very important to us to put across the message that our vaccines do work,” de Guzman added.

De Guzman noted that there are three major mutations in the Lambda variant that show resistance to vaccines in laboratories. But the way to prove they resistant to vaccines is looking at real world data, she said.

"The fact that is still a variant of interest means that the World Health Organization is still gathering enough evidence to prove that it is indeed more transmissible or it indeed is affecting the vaccine efficacies of what we already are using now as our vaccines," she added.

De Guzman said the Philippines needs to vaccinate more people faster to boost the country’s fight against the Lambda variant.

She also said that minimum public health standards must be followed consistently in order to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

--ANC, 16 August 2021