New ‘Lambda’ Coronavirus Strain Detected in California

A new COVID-19 variant — named Lambda — has arrived in California.

The emerging Lambda variant is spreading rapidly throughout South America. In California, at least 152 cases have been reported, the first as early as September 2020, according to state public health officials.

Experts say Lambda could be more infectious and resistant to vaccines than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. But there is no evidence, at least so far, that it’s as infectious as the Delta variant that now dominates California.

The Delta variant has crowded out other variants nationwide. It now accounts for at least 86% of California’s sequenced COVID-19 cases and more than 94% of U.S. cases.

“Delta’s aggressive all over the world and Lambda hasn’t really taken off,” Chin-Hong said. “At the end of the day, it’s survival of the fittest.”

The Lambda variant — also known as “C.37” — was first reported in Peru a year ago and it’s now spreading across South America, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers say its unique new gene deletions and mutations signal that Lambda may be more infectious than the original “wild type” coronavirus and may be potentially resistant to current vaccines, although more studies are needed.

Because of those new genetic markers, the WHO in mid-June declared Lambda a “variant of interest.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet done the same, in part because so few cases have been reported nationwide.

The Delta variant dominating U.S. COVID-19 cases is considered a “variant of concern” by both WHO and CDC, in part because it’s much more infectious than the original virus.

Lambda sparked headlines this summer after the WHO noted its rapid spread in South American countries, including Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil. It’s since been detected in 29 countries, according to the WHO, including Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

While WHO considers Lambda a “variant of interest,” the CDC and California’s public health agency have not followed suit.

In late July, Houston Methodist Hospital reported its first Lambda case. Japan last week announced its first case, from a woman who arrived from Peru on July 20.

More recently, two highly publicized laboratory studies from Japan and Chile – both in preprint and not yet peer-reviewed – have suggested that Lambda may be more infectious and less susceptible to current vaccines than the original coronavirus. The Japanese researchers suggested that WHO’s current “variant of interest” designation for Lambda may underplay its potential threat.

Since September 2020, the Lambda variant has accounted for 152 genetically sequenced COVID-19 cases in California, according to the state Department of Public Health. The first case was found in September, with another 10 in March, 88 in April, 43 in May, eight in June and, most recently, two cases in July.

The state agency declined to identify the counties where the cases occurred.

Commercial and government laboratories test for variants by sequencing the genome of the coronavirus that caused a particular COVID-19 case and looking for mutations and changes in the virus’ characteristic spike protein.

Still, not every COVID-19 case is genetically sequenced to determine whether it was caused by a variant, so the number of Lambda-caused cases could be higher. Nationwide only about 15 of every 1,000 cases are sequenced.

At least 1,311 sequenced Lambda cases have been reported in at least 40 states since the start of the pandemic, with 18 cases identified in the past four weeks, according to the public virus genetic sequence database GISAID. Just one-tenth of 1 percent of the cases that are genetically sequenced involve Lambda, according to GISAID.

Scientists believe Lambda is less infectious than the Delta variant but more infectious than the original “wild-type” virus – at least in laboratory tests.

But they don’t yet know how Lambda’s different genetic profile will affect community transmission, severity of symptoms or vaccine resistance around the world. Some early clues are emerging.

The Chilean researchers tested Lambda against antibodies from health care workers who received the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine, finding that the vaccine failed to work as well as it did with the original virus.

Also, New York University researchers tested Lambda against the vaccines authorized in the United States and found that the Johnson and Johnson one-dose vaccine was less effective against it and the Delta variant compared to the Pfizer and Moderna two-dose vaccines.

Again, these are studies in test tubes that have not been peer reviewed, scientists caution.

Just because vaccines appear less effective when pitted against Lambda in a test tube doesn’t mean they won’t protect against severe illness, said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a University of California, San Francisco infectious disease specialist. Nearly all hospitalizations and deaths in California and nationwide have occurred in unvaccinated people.

Not for now, Chin-Hong said. Lambda has been around for months, yet it hasn’t gained a foothold in California and other states so that should be reassuring, he said.



  1. Don’t Worry – “The Border is Closed” … “the Surge Is Normal”.. and”..most ILLEGAL crossers are being turned back”
    and if you believe that – look-up what Biden and his FAILING admin was saying about Afghanistan a month ago.. as Kabul turns into another Saigon moment for the USA – yeah.. the US is back…

    “40% of Illegal Immigrants Bussed to Texas Town Are COVID Positive”
    The 40% infection rate is the HIGHEST Known (but testing is not done regularly by overburdened officials at the border) highest known positivity rate along the U.S.-Mexico border.
    Last week, McAllen, Texas, reported a 15% positivity rate among migrants released from custody.

    Border cities are so overrun with COVID from Illegal Crossers dumped by the Biden DHS that they are not testing anymore but sending buses away.

    “..By not admitting migrants on the McAllen buses, the city is NOT Required to TEST THEM for the coronavirus and could forward the families elsewhere.
    Those who test positive cannot travel and must be quarantined for 10 days…”

  2. Is South America close to Central America? Is Central America Close to Mexico? Is Mexico close to America? The last question is a trick question — there is no difference between the two borderless states.

    What happens South of the US doesn’t stay South of the US — it walks in.

  3. HB, As close (and fast) as an airplane flight.. COVID?? – Shut-Up, ..MASK Up and don’t ASK.
    “…many foreign nationals fly to the border. .. 68 nations of which travelers do not need a visa to enter Mexico.
    That list includes Ecuador and Brazil, and it allows immigrants to fly into those countries from the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, to hop-scotch to the U.S…”

    “They’re flying in to locations in Mexico, flying up to locations at the border and then being transported vehicles to the border,” said Yuma Chief Border Patrol..
    “And they’re literally walking a couple of hundred yards across the border.”

    “63% of some 22,000 Brazilians who entered the U.S. ILLEGALLY this year came through Yuma AZ.”

  4. WilliamA, Well… when you have flip-floppers speaking for the Biden admin.. like Dr. Fauci, who claims he is Not “familiar with the details of what’s going on at the border”..
    What do you expect?
    Dr. Fauci – the nation’s (so-called) top infectious disease doctor – was unable to answer the question and in fact, readily admitted that he is “not really very deeply familiar with the details of what’s going on at the border… I am really not familiar enough with the situation at the border to be able to make a comment.”

    “As our nation’s top infectious disease doctor, I am deeply troubled that Dr. Fauci is completely unaware of the health crisis on our southern border,”
    said Senator Marshall (an M.D. himself)
    “It is completely hypocritical of Dr. Fauci to lock us down,
    lecture us to wear multiple masks,
    stay six feet apart,
    and stay away from our family and friends but yet have no input on the border crisis where we have MASSES of ILLEGAL Immigrants FLOODING into our nation, including a significant amount who are carrying infectious diseases like COVID-19.
    From an infectious disease standpoint, the Administration’s handling of the border crisis makes no sense.”

  5. Lol.. StevenG, but an Out-Door Biker Rally is Flip-Flopping-Fauci’s responsibility?
    “..Fauci scolds Sturgis rally as a potential super-spreader event but says NOTHING about ex-President’s birthday bash…” in Martha’s Vineyard…
    Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago – Nothing.
    Obama’s big tent birthday bash – Nothing.

    Celebrity Fauci do research? I doubt he has the time – too busy doing the media hoar circuit.

    Overall your reply seems like more idiotic rants to mislead – or are you too daft to understand Fauci can provide his opinion on the risks of an Open Border and how to safely mitigate the Thousands of COVID infected ILLEGAL Borders crossers being distributed throughout the U.S. by the Biden Admin.

  6. Well, lockdowns return 9/15 if Gavin isn’t recalled that much is for sure. If you love your children and your businesses, you’ll likely want to get out to vote.

    On another topic, look at the common sense information provided by the FDA. Debunks all the myths that the health directors are basing their orders on. I sure wish some of our uneducated health officials would read it:

  7. Someone is still getting off on their Panic-Porn.. Alphabet soup for you.
    In Mar 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that “There are around 4,000 variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 around the world now.”
    Many more thousands of variants exist now.
    That is what viruses do – “Natural evolution over time creates small genetic changes as viruses continually make new copies of itself to spread and thrive.”
    Lambda (and 1,000s of other variants) has been in CA since Sep 2020.

    Look at the positive side – increasing cases means increasing Natural Immunity.
    For people who already have natural immunity and those that chose vaccination the likelihood of serious complications is Extremely LOW and even less chance of a resultant death due to Covid.
    That is some 37.5 million “recorded” cases with immunity.

    The Panic-Porn “Break-Thru” infection could easily be labeled as a “booster shot” of immunity since the majority of cases are benign.

    “It appears that natural immunity is better against the Delta variant. When you get infected with COVID, your body’s immune system develops antibodies to the entire surface of the virus,”
    … “Not just the slight protein that the vaccines gives you, but the entire surface. And so you get a more diverse antibody portfolio in your system.”
    data from Israel revealed that natural immunity appears to be 6.7x more effective than being vaccinated when it comes to fighting off COVID-19.
    Dr. Marty Makary, a professor at John Hopkins School of Medicine

    “One of the great failures of our medical leadership has been ignoring the half of America with natural immunity, which is the half of non-vaccinated folks.”

  8. The basic antibody test for Covid-19 is relatively simple and straightforward (well, to a PhD postdoc in microbiology). But separating the countless variations of Covid-19 via gene sequencing takes a lot more time and effort, which makes the variant test a lot more expensive.

    There is a test for the Lambda variant like the test for the Delta variant. But those tests are so expensive that very few have been done — far too few to reach a valid conclusion about which particular variant is more contagious.

    For example, if Delta is super contagious… wouldn’t almost all new cases of Covid be the Delta variant?

    Without a statistical database consisting of enough tests… who knows?

    Dr. Fauci knows!

    This is the perfect scenario for Dr. Fauci, since everything he says amounts to, “Take my word for it.”

    Dr. Fauci Warns Against New, Highly Contagious Delta Variant…

    Without a statistical baseline, he’s just blowing smoke. As with the Delta variant, there is no inexpensive, readily available test for the Lambda variant. That means from Dr. Fauci on down, everything we’re hearing about “variants” are baseless opinions since no one really knows who has which Covid variant, or if it even matters.

    If 5% of airborne bacteria get sucked into our lungs with every breath we take, how does that translate to viruses? Class? Anyone want to hazard a guess…?

    The average dot.EDU Cali-matriculatoid from a gov’t equality factory probably thinks bacteria and viruses are like giraffes and hippos — they’re same general size, but they look different through a microscope. Sorta like… different races!

    But bacteria and viruses are not even in the same ballpark, size-wise. If your average bacterium was the size of your average house, then your typical virus would be about the size of a ping-pong ball.

    What was that about “highly contagious,” again? We’re discussing viruses and masks.

    In this episode of Dr. Fauci’s Theatre Of The Absurd, wearing a paper mask makes us invulnerable to the latest cootie variant, protecting us like it’s Covid Kryptonite. Ya think?

    Me, neither.

    Dr. Fauci says a paper mask is an impenetrable barrier that will stop a Covid virus.
    Ha, ha! That Dr. F, always kidding around! …Wait, What? He was serious?!

    If I may re-phrase Dr. F: A paper mask will stop a Covid virus… about as effectively as a barbed wire fence will stop a flea.

    Even an N-95 mask, properly fitted (few are) will still allow 95% of bacteria-size particles through — and since they cost maybe 25¢ versus 10¢, not many people opt for the N-95 variety.

    IMHO, this mask nonsense is a message, from the gov’t to us, making it clear who the boss is. And it ain’t We The People any more.

    We are fast approaching the final stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission.
    ~ Ayn Rand

  9. Smokey, et al., Disregard the ALL CAPS Clown – he is fixated on replying with whatever blather he can come up with to “sound” intelligent.
    And NO the N95 is not specified to block particles larger than 95nm (just like the AR in AR-15 does NOT refer to Automatic Rifle).

    “According to the standards of NIOSH, filtering respirators can be classified as the N95, N99 and N100 masks, which can respectively block at least 95%, 99% and 99.97% of particles with MEDIAN diameter of 0.3 μm (or 300nm) from entering (CDC, 2020).”
    And that requires a proper FIT and Wearing of the N95 mask.

    “Research found avian flu virus passing through the N95 mask, … In addition, influenza is generally transmitted through small aerosol particles with a diameter of 1–10 μm. It is possible that a single virus particle can be transmitted from person to person (Wiwanitkit, 2006).”

  10. Lol, At least someone is getting “Educated” on N95 masks.. what should his next look-up be?
    Amusing how these behaviors compare …The 5 Behaviors of a “Know-It-All”..
    4. SHIFTING GOAL POSTS: the KNOW-IT-ALL type of person often have something closer to the “ILLUSION of KNOWLEDGE.” They aren’t aware that they don’t know something, which Makes them Think That They KNOW … well … Everything.
    So, when caught in being Wrong, a know-it-all will often shift the goalposts of their argument.


    We’re on the same page. Like many if not most readers, I ignore all caps comments/replies. No one likes shouting, which takes the place of reasonable debate, and it poisons the well. I just skip them… all of them.

    Anyway, I’m happy to be one of the growing list of folks under attack by the All-Caps Creature, assuming that’s what it was. We’re like the “Be That Guy” picture/meme, except there’s more than one of us.

    Next, maybe I wasn’t clear enough, but I agree about the N-95 = 95%. They’re fairly effective in keeping bacteria out, but they’re fairly worthless when it comes to viruses — which aren’t spread well by droplets (aerosols aren’t droplets, and vice-versa.)

    Here’s the first of a series on Covid-19. It begins with a reasonable explanation of the mask issue, and it doesn’t emit the partisan hyper-emotion (or all caps) that gets rained down on us non-stop, 24/7/365:


    I agree, I just skip all caps replies. They’re tedious, and they usually poison the well. Who needs that?

    There’s a good series on Covid-19, but links seem to defenestrate comments with hotlinks, so give this a try: coyoteblog, then a dotcom, a slash coyote underscore blog slash 2021 slash 08 slash crazy-government-responses-to-covid-part-1-understanding-incentives dot html

    It’s reasonable, and there’s no hyper partisan lecturing, dictating, or holier-than-thou emotion. As Joe Friday might have said, it’s “just the facts, ma’am…”

    I learned something, but that was easy since I don’t claim to be an Authority. Take a look if you like. And the author doesn’t use all caps, ever; none, nada, none a-tall. It was refreshing.

  13. Good think Lambda isn’t detected very often. If COVID weren’t detected very often we could all go back to a normal life… regardless of the fact that viruses surround and will do so for eternity.

  14. This is getting funny. Should we now start talking about the mythical undefined “micro droplets”. How absurd the whole leaky mask idea is. Yet, all the MDs went ‘all in’ on the nonsense. I remain embarrassed for our generation.

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