By Laurel Wamsley
While the delta variant of the coronavirus has quickly become the dominant strain in the United States, it’s not the only variant circulating in the population.
The lambda variant, first identified in Peru, is also making headlines as it has started to be identified in several states. Houston Methodist Hospital reported its first case of the variant this week. Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina recently announced they had found the variant in a virus sample taken in April.
According to a database for scientists tracking coronavirus variants, fewer than 700 cases of the lambda variant have been sequenced in the U.S. so far out of more than 34 million coronavirus cases reported to date. But the U.S. has sequenced only a tiny fraction of its cases, so that number does not reflect the actual number of lambda cases in the country.
Fewer than 1% of U.S. cases in the last four weeks have been identified as the lambda variant, according to GISAID, a repository for genome data.