Story at a glance

  • A report sequenced samples of the lambda COVID-19 variant to see if it was resistant to humoral immunity.
  • Researchers identified a site at the spike protein’s binding receptor that potentially confers immune resistance along the lambda’s spike protein.
  • This study has not been peer reviewed.

The lambda variant, a COVID-19 mutation first identified in Peru that is quickly popping up worldwide, has been highlighted by governing bodies like the World Health Organizations (WHO) as a variant of interest. But a new study suggests that it may be resistant to some vaccines.

A preprinted whitepaper published in late July focused on the mutation that distinguishes the lambda variant, denoted as C.37, within its S protein, found in the cell’s binding receptor.

The mutation at this location on the virus is associated with being resistant to immunization efforts. 

Using data from the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data database, researchers found three mutations within the lambda spike protein that could mean resistance to antibodies induced in humans by vaccines. 

“Our results suggest that the resistance of the Lambda variant against antiviral humoral immunity was conferred by the RSYLTPGD246-253N mutation,” the report concludes. 

The RSYLTPGD246-253N mutation, along with two other mutations identified when synthesizing the COVID-19 samples, specifically resists immunity from antibodies generated by the human body. 

Notably, the study sampled genome sequences from South American countries like Chile, Peru and Argentina, where the lambda variant is the dominant strain.

Chile’s primary vaccine is developed by Sinovac, rather than the common Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots used in the U.S. 

The study is not peer reviewed.


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Published on Aug 13, 2021