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COVID-19 'Lambda' variant detected in Canada

Last Updated Jul 7, 2021 at 9:41 am MDT

FILE - Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Summary

Public Health Agency of Canada says it's aware of 11 cases of 'Lambda' variant in this country, according to report

C.37 mutation first detected in Peru last August, has been designated a 'variant of interest' by WHO

TORONTO – Another COVID-19 variant that is being closely monitored by scientists has arrived in Canada.

According to the Toronto Star, the Public Health Agency of Canada says it’s aware of 11 cases of the “Lambda” variant in this country.

The C.37 mutation was first detected in Peru last August and has been designated a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization.

The WHO says this variant and other variants of interest are “identified to cause significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 clusters, in multiple countries with increasing relative prevalence alongside increasing number of cases over time, or other apparent epidemiological impacts to suggest an emerging risk to global public health.”

While early data suggests Lambda may be more contagious than other variants, reports suggest vaccines should still offer protection against it.

Euronews reports Lambda has been detected in at least 27 countries, and is especially widespread in South America.

The emergence of yet another variant comes as some countries continue to struggle with cases of the Delta mutation.

In Canada, where case numbers have been declining and vaccinations continue, public health officials are still urging caution.

On June 28, the Public Health Agency warned “with current rates of vaccination and the increased transmissibility and severity of the Delta variant, resurgence is still possible if easing of public health measures proceeds too quickly and in-person contact rates across the community increase by 50% or more.”

Modelling shows if the Delta variant becomes predominant, Canadians may be at risk of a “greater than expected resurgence this fall and/or winter.”

-With files from 680 NEWS