'We should be watchful': Govt on Covid's Lambda variant in India
There is no case of the Lambda variant of SARS-CoV-2 in India at present but the government is closely monitoring the global landscape of this new variant, which was first found in Peru and then spread to around 30 countries in the world, including many European countries. Had it entered India, it would have been detected by INSACOG (The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium of Genomics), Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul said on Friday, during the press briefing of the health ministry.
"We should be watchful as the virus is under pressure across the world. Whenever the virus is under pressure, it picks up certain new characteristics," Dr Paul said adding that the full potential of the variant is yet to be ascertained globally as Lambda variant remains a variant of interest, as classified by the World Health Organization.
"Lambda is the 7th variant of interest, which was notified by the World Health Organization on June 14. This variant is predominant in Peru and was first reported in Peru. Our INSACOG is monitoring the situation," joint secretary of the Union health ministry Lav Agarwal said.
Lambda variant elsewhere in the world
First reported from Peru, this variant is now responsible for nearly 82 per cent of the Covid-19 cases in Peru. The health ministry of Malaysia said this variant is proving to be deadlier than Delta -- the variant which is driving the ongoing wave of the pandemic across the world and was responsible for India's 2nd wave.
In the United Kingdom too, Lambda has been detected.
In the latest development, Lambda has been detected in Canada which said that there are at least 11 cases of this variant in the country, though the actual spread of the variant is not known.
Kappa variant in India
The health ministry also commented on the reports of Kappa variant cases in Uttar Pradesh and said that the variant of interest is not new in India. It was detected at the same time when the Delta variant was reported. But in the course of time, Kappa got overshadowed by Delta. "If cases are detected, this means that the variant has stayed in the country. Delta is a related variant of Kappa. Kappa is much less in its intensity. There are many variants in the country. Not all cases are of Delta variant. Our watch will continue," Dr VK Paul said.