Uttar Pradesh has reported two cases of the Kappa variant of Covid-19, which has been confirmed by the King Geroge’s Medical College where the genome sequencing of 109 samples took place. Out of these 109 samples, 107 Delta Plus variant cases have been found. Some reports claimed that there have been three cases of Kappa variant in Uttar Pradesh and the first patient, a 66-year-old resident of Sant Kabir Nagar, has succumbed to the disease.
According to the Union health ministry’s June data, there were 3,969 Alpha, 149 Beta, 1 Gamma, and 16,238 Delta and Kappa variant cases in India. the B.1.617 lineage was first observed in Maharashtra and was “associated with an unusual rise in several districts of the state”, the ministry had said about the lineage, not specifying Delta or Kappa. On Friday, Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul said the Kappa variant in India got overshadowed by Delta.
What is Kappa? Is it a new variant?
This is not a new variant. According to the World Health Organizations’s site on tracking SARS-Cov-2, the Kappa variant was first detected in India in October 2020. The variant is identified as B.1.617.1, while Delta is represented as B.1.617.2
Is it a variant of concern?
WHO at present has not classified this variant as a variant of concern. Like Lambda, which has already spread in 30 countries across the world, Kappa is a variant of interest.
Is it a double mutant?
Yes, like Delta, Kappa is referred to as a double mutant because of two mutations — EE484Q and L452R.
Is this variant immune escape?
It was believed that the L452R mutation may help the variant to escape the body’s natural immune response.
Are these the first Kappa cases in India?
No, as the Kappa variant was found in India in October 2020, it is evident that these are not the first instances of the variant. This variant has been found in many states.
Difference between Delta and Kappa
Both the variants, belonging to the same lineage of B.1.617, have been found first in India in October 2020. Delta, which was a variant of interest in April 2021, became a variant of concern in May 2021. Kappa on the other hand remained a variant of interest, as designated last on April 4. Delta has emerged as a threat across the world as most of the present Covid-19 cases in the world are that of Delta variant. The second wave of the pandemic in India was also because of the dominance of the Delta variant. A further mutation of Delta called Delta Plus has now emerged in many countries, including India.