WASHINGTON, D.C. – For yet more erosion of the planet’s collective morale during a pandemic that has already more than worn out its welcome, researchers have discovered yet two more variants of COVID-19 that have medical experts worried, as early testing indicates both may be far more resistant to currently-available vaccines than their viral forbearers.
While the Delta COVID-19 variant is already causing surges in infections in regions with low vaccination rates, researchers have identified two additional “variants of interest,” dubbed Epsilon and Lambda, and early studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that currently-available vaccines may not be nearly as effective against them.
The Lambda variant was first discovered in Peru by Japanese researchers, and it’s highly transmissible nature and resistance to vaccines is currently causing spikes in infections all throughout South America, according to reports.
Initially discovered in California in 2020, but only now appearing to be picking up steam in terms of posing a serious health threat, the Epsilon variant is currently driving up infection rates in Pakistan and is proving to be similarly resistant to vaccines as Lambda and at least as transmissible as Delta, experts say.
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However, the CDC notes that studies into these two “variants of interest” are still in their early stages and they are currently not going to be raised to the level of “variants of concern,” which is the present designation of the Delta variant.
Medical experts stress that COVID-19 vaccines, even against more potent variants of the virus, are still effective at preventing or alleviating the more serious symptoms associated with the illness, including in “breakthrough” cases where a individual inoculated against COVID-19 still manages to be infected.
A study out of the U.K. notes that the Pfizer vaccine is currently 88 percent effective against infection of the Delta variant, and 96 percent effective against preventing hospitalization from it.