WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTAL) – As the delta variant continues to fuel the rising number of COVID infections, another has now been detected.
The lambda variant, discovered in Peru, is one of the most recent discoveries. Scientists continue to watch for new mutations of COVID-19.
Dr. David Weber, professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina, said SARS-CoV-2 is a MRNA virus similar to the flu, and that those viruses tend to mutate more rapidly.
“Every person who is unvaccinated is really a little incubator for a new variant,” Weber said.
Dr. Andrew Yurochko, vice chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at LSU Health Shreveport, said people should not underestimate the delta variant.
Louisiana is one of the few states that have detected the lambda variant.
“It is here in Louisiana…we do not know whether this is gonna be better or worse, different the same in delta there’s not enough information,” Yurochko said.
The World Health Organization has listed Lambda as a variant of interest, but delta remains a serious concern, according to Weber. “The delta variant is more fit and is out-competing the lambda variant,” he said.
“We know it’s the most fit because it spreads like the one that outgrows or out in fact, is considered more infections and so more fit,” Yurochko added.
While public health officials stress the vaccine and masking to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the need for effective treatments continues to grow.
Treatments are used when a person is already sick with a certain disease.
The Government initiative “Rise Above Covid” is conducting the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV-2) Study, testing different medicines to see if they are safe and can help adults with COVID-19.
Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Dr. David Wohl, said they want to identify a medicine that can stop COVID in its tracks and prevent people from getting hospitalized.
“I would like to make sure that there’s something that you call your doctor and say I just was diagnosed with, I got a headache. My breathing is a little wrath, and she calls you in a prescription,” Wohl said.
There are over 200 research sites in the United States tasked with identifying promising medicines.
“Over the country, and purposely, we tried to identify sites in places where the virus was surging last surge. And so Louisiana certainly has had its share of COVID-19. So we do have sites that are located in Louisiana,” Wohl added.
In the meantime, doctors have reported some progress in Shreveport.
Wohl said the state’s vaccination program has stepped up, since the delta variant has become so widespread, and LSU Health is doing “a lot of vaccinations.”
If you are feeling symptoms of COVID-19 and want to be a part of the study, go over to RiseAboveCovid.org. By Darasha Singleton.