Kappa Variant Found: Uttar Pradesh: Amid Increasing Cases of The DELTA Variant in India. Now, Two cases of the kappa Variant have emerged Lucknow’s King George Medical University Conducted genome sequencing of 109 covid – 19 samples. Out of the 109 samples analyzed, the university found 107 samples to be the widerspread delta variant. And the 2 other samples were identified as the Kappa Variant of COVID -19. While the Delta strain was one of the drivers of the second wave of COVID -19 in India. The Kappa variant is considered a sibling of the delta variant.
What is the Kappa Variant?
The Kappa variant is the mutated version of the ‘double mutant strain’ or the B.1.617. The World Health Organisation recently named the double mutant strain – B.1.617.1 as ‘Kappa’.
The Kappa variant found in a few samples in UP is not a new emergence. The Kappa variant was first detected in India in October last year.
|Kappa Not a ‘Variant of Concern’?|
Dr. VK Paul (NITI Aayog) – ‘We have had this (kappa) variant for some time in our nation. It has been overwhelmed by the delta variant which is a related variant and much more transmissible. The Delta variant is also responsible for the second wave. This particular variant has been much less intense. But we believe that it has been on the margin and it has been largely replaced by the Delta variant. The Kappa variant has been found in earlier samples in several states. The Kappa variant has earlier been assessed to be less dangerous than the Delta Variant. UP medical officials have said that there is nothing to be worried about and the variant can be treated.’
The WHO has also called the Kappa strain a ‘variant of interest’.
Are Vaccines Effective against Kappa Variant?
Since the Kappa variant belongs to the L453R mutation, some experts suggest that the variant might escape vaccine immunity. However, ICMR has said that Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin provides protection against the Kappa Variant. Oxford University has also said that Covishield is effective against the Kappa Variant.
Symptoms of Kappa Variant
- Prolonged Coughing
- Loss of Smell, Taste
- Measles like Symptom
The Kappa Variant was also reportedly behind the outbreak in Melbourne in May, which forced authorities to impose a lockdown.