New variants-Lambda, Delta plus, B.1.621; Reason for flexible variant testing

SARS-CoV2 Genome

1. Rise of Lambda variant in Peru

As the Delta variant ravages communities in Asia, Europe, and the United States, another variant of interest, Lambda (C.37), is spreading rapidly throughout South America. Lambda differs by 23 nucleotide changes and 18 amino acid changes from the original Wuhan strain. 16 nucleotide mutations and 11 amino acid mutations lie outside the S gene that encodes the spike protein. The effect of any of these changes may be mitigated by changes in the ability of Lambda to enhance replication and improve down-regulation of the innate and adaptive immune response early in infection

Dr. Gregory Poland of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic notes that “any time a variant is identified and demonstrates the capacity to rapidly spread in a population, you have to be concerned.” The epidemiology of Covid-19 in the Latin America tells us what we can expect if Lambda, in addition to Delta, gains wide circulation in the US, we are forewarned to prepare for a double onslaught. Below is mechanism of immune escape to the Pfizer vaccine in the lambda variant.

2. Delta Plus (officially called B.1.617.2.1)

The delta plus variant is a sublineage of the delta variant, with the only known difference being an additional mutation, K417N, in the virus’ spike protein, the protein that allows it to infect healthy cells. The K417N mutation is within the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein, and this change is noteworthy because this mutation is also found in the B.1.351 or Beta variant of concern. The two Indian vaccines have shown 3 to 8 times less efficacy against Delta and Beta, reports say. However, there is currently no evidence that the Delta plus variant is more infectious or evades vaccines better than the notoriously infectious Delta variant (B.1.617.2).



3. B.1.621 versus the original Wuhan strain: there are 17 nucleotide mutations, of which 13 result in amino acid mutations.

The new variant, B.1.621, has yet to receive a greek letter designation from the World Health Organization. The variant already accounts for around 2% of coronavirus infections in the United States, and as much as 10% in Miami, according to Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Health System. The variant can be traced back to identification in samples from Colombia in March 2021 and according to the GISAID coronavirus database, the variant has been identified in as many as 28 countries, but potentially more.

This is why we need a flexible and cost-effective COVID variant testing such as GoodGene COVID-19 variant kit using SNAPSHOT/microarray/RT-PCR.



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