What you need to know about the Delta Plus and Lambda variants

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 9:16 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More mutations of the coronavirus are emerging.

The World Health Organization added two new mutations to its “variants of interest” list.

Medical experts have been saying all along that the COVID-19 virus will continue to mutate as long as there are unvaccinated people it can infect. That’s why doctors and researchers are keeping an eye on the Delta Plus and Lambda variants.

Health experts admit there’s still plenty to learn about the Delta Plus and Lambda variants.

They aren’t surprised by the mutations but said Delta Plus has an extra mutation in the spike protein, which could make it more contagious.

“The Delta variant got its own mutation because it’s been the most commonly spreading virus and that makes good sense because…again the more times you have a chance for the virus to infect someone, the greater the chance of getting a variant that may cause a different type of syndrome or may spread differently,” said Medical Director of Disease Control for the Jefferson County Department of Health, Dr. Wesley Willeford.

Experts said the Delta Plus variant has been detected in at least 32 countries.

They’re also monitoring another “variant of interest” called Lambda.

“‘Variants of concern’ get a lot more scrutiny because there are findings that may indicate that they may have more severe disease, that they may be easier to spread. Whereas ‘variants of interest,’ it’s a similar situation, but not quite the same level of scrutiny,” Dr. Willeford said.

The Delta variant remains the primary concern in the U.S.

But Dr. Willeford said the lingering question is how effective the vaccines will be against other variants.

“The jury is still out on that. I suspect what we’ll see is that…the vaccines will still be good at protecting against hospitalizations and death but may still have some challenges with preventing against acquiring infection at all,” Dr. Willeford explained.

Health experts seem to be less concerned about the Lambda variant, but that could change.

Dr. Willeford said the sooner we build up protection in our population against COVID-19 and its variants, the sooner we’ll be able to move past this pandemic and get back some sense of normalcy.

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