The Philippines on Sunday reported its first case of the Lambda coronavirus variant, which has been classified as a variant of interest by the World Health Organization.
The Department of Health said the country's first case of the Lambda variant is a 35-year-old woman. Authorities are checking whether she is a local case or a returning overseas Filipino.
She was asymptomatic and was tagged as recovered after undergoing the 10-day isolation period. Contact tracing is ongoing, the DOH said.
Apart from the Lambda case, the country also logged additional 182 cases of the Delta variant, 66 cases of the Beta variant, 41 cases of the Alpha variant, and 40 cases of the P.3 variant.
The Lambda variant has attracted attention as a potential new threat. But this version of the coronavirus, first identified in Peru in December, may be receding, several infectious disease experts told Reuters.
The WHO classifies Lambda as a variant of interest, meaning it carries mutations suspected of causing a change in transmissibility or causing more severe disease, but it is still under investigation. Lab studies show it has mutations that resist vaccine-induced antibodies.
Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California, said the percentage of new Lambda cases reported to GISAID, a database that tracks SARS-CoV-2 variants, has been dropping, a sign that the variant is waning.
In a recent call with the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, disease experts said Lambda did not appear to be causing increased transmissibility, and vaccines appear to be holding up well against it, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who attended the discussion.