Houston Methodist confirms its 1st lambda variant case

Houston Methodist Hospital has identified its first COVID-19 hospitalization linked to the lambda variant, the Houston Chronicle reported July 19.

The variant was first detected in Peru in August 2020 and has since been circulating in South America. About 800 lambda cases have been reported in the U.S., 30 of which occurred in the last month, according to the Houston Chronicle.

It is still unclear whether lambda is more contagious than other variants, and there is no reason to suspect it would significantly affect vaccine efficacy, according to S. Wesley Long, MD, PhD, medical director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist.

"While they will be watching lambda closely, Houston Methodist's genome sequencing experts are not overly concerned about lambda compared to delta," Dr. Long said in a statement to Becker's. "The massive spike in delta, severe infections and hospitalizations is what's cause for concern right now and vaccination is our best defense."

Overall, COVID-19 hospitalizations have jumped 70 percent at Houston Methodist Hospital in the past week. As of July 19, the hospital had 184 COVID-19 inpatients, double the number of patients seen July 1.

Nearly every patient was not vaccinated and about 85 percent were infected by the delta variant, Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom, MD, wrote in an email to staff that was obtained by the Houston Chronicle. 


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