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First Lambda variant case detected in the Philippines

The Philippines has detected its first case of the Lambda coronavirus variant first seen in Peru, the Department of Health said Sunday.

The DOH said the first Lambda variant case is a 35-year-old female and is currently being validated as to whether she is a local or returning overseas Filipino case.

The DOH said the patient was asymptomatic and tagged as recovered after undergoing the 10-day isolation period.

The DOH said it is currently conducting back tracing and case investigation.

The Lambda variant was classified as a variant of interest by the World Health Organization on June 14.

Meanwhile, the DOH also reported 182 new cases of the Delta variant, raising the country's total to 807.

The DOH said 112 of the latest Delta vases are local, 36 are returning overseas Filipinos, and 34 are still undergoing verification.

The local cases came from the following:

  •     National Capital Region (42 cases)
  •     Central Luzon (36 cases)
  •     CALABARZON (8 cases)
  •     MIMAROPA (6 cases)
  •     Northern Mindanao (6 cases)
  •     Central Visayas (4 cases)
  •     Davao Region (3 cases)
  •     Caraga (3 cases)
  •     Western Visayas (2 cases)
  •     Cordillera Administrative Region (1 case)
  •     BARMM (1 case)

The DOH said one case is still active, 176 cases have been tagged as recovered, and four have died. The status of one patient is still being verified.

The DOH also said two cases that were initially tagged as Delta cases from NCR last August 4 were Beta variant cases.

Other variants

Further, the DOH also detected 41 more Alpha variant cases, 66 Beta cases, and 40 cases of the P.3 variant.

The country now has a total of 2,232 Alpha cases and 2,483 Beta cases.

Among the 41 new Alpha cases, 38 are local, one is an ROF, and two are still being verified. Two cases have died, 36 have been tagged as recovered, and three cases are still undergoing verification.

Out of the 66 additional Beta cases, 56 are local and 10 cases are still undergoing verification. Two cases have died, 63 cases have been tagged as recovered, and one case is still being verified.

Among the 40 new P.3 variant cases, 37 are local cases and three cases are still being verified. All cases have been tagged as recovered.

Lambda threat

The Lambda variant of the coronavirus, first identified in Peru and now spreading in South America, is highly infectious and more resistant to vaccines than the original version of the virus the emerged from Wuhan, China, Japanese researchers have found. It is currently listed by the World Health Organization as a "Variant of Interest."

In laboratory experiments, researchers have found that three mutations in Lambda's spike protein, known as RSYLTPGD246-253N, 260 L452Q and F490S, help it resist neutralization by vaccine-induced antibodies. Two additional mutations, T76I and L452Q, help make Lambda highly infectious, they found.

In a paper posted earlier this month on bioRxiv ahead of peer review, the researchers warn that with Lambda being labeled a "Variant of Interest" by the World Health Organization, rather than a "Variant of Concern," people might not realize it is a serious ongoing threat.

Although it is not clear yet whether this variant is more dangerous than the Delta now threatening populations in many countries, senior researcher Kei Sato of the University of Tokyo believes "Lambda can be a potential threat to the human society." —with a report from Reuters/JST, GMA News