Philippines detects first case of COVID-19 Lambda variant

    MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday, August 15, confirmed the detection of the Philippines’ first case of COVID-19 Lambda variant.

    According to the DOH's report, a 35-year-old female is the country's first Lambda case. She is asymptomatic and has recovered after she underwent through the mandatory 10-day isolation period. The health agency has yet to confirm if the patient is a local or a returning Overseas Filipino Workers.

    The Lambda variant has been considered as a "variant of interest" (VOI) by the World Health Organization (WHO) because according to some studies, it is highly transmissible and is shown to be resistant to vaccines.

    Philippines detects first case of COVID-19 Lambda variant

    The DOH assured they are doing contract tracing to curb the spread of the virus. "This variant of interest has the potential to affect the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 and is currently being monitored for its possible clinical significance," DOH said.

    Meanwhile, the medical community is continuously reporting and investigating the Lambda variant. Here are a few things that they have concluded so far:

    According to WHO, the Lambda variant has a potential for increased transmissibility and even possible increased resistance to neutralizing antibodies, making it possibly vaccine-resistant. However, they clarified that further studies are needed to better understand the mutations and confirm the data.

    The WHO's decision to classify Lambda as a VOI means that the variant has characteristics such as being significantly more transmissible or more virulent. Meaning, it can affect disease severity and might significantly affect community transmission.

    In the Philippine setting, Philippine Genome Center Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Saloma said that the Lambda variant is considered an "emerging global public health risk" because it was first detected in Peru, which has the highest COVID-19 death rate. The veracity of symptoms have yet to be studied and compared with the Delta variant.

    — Sally, The Summit Express

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