Two individuals in Uttar Pradesh have reportedly tested positive for the Kappa variant of COVID-19.
A genome sequencing of 109 samples done at King George's medical college in Lucknow has returned 107 confirmed samples of highly infections Delta variant of Covid-19, and also carried two samples of the Kappa variant.
What is Kappa 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.
WHO at present has not classified this variant as a variant of concern, but as 'Variant of Interest', like Lambda, which has already spread in 30 countries across the world.
Kappa variant is a double variant as delta because of two mutations -- EE484Q and L452R.
What is Variant of Interest?
A SARS-CoV-2 variant with genetic changes that are predicted or known to affect virus characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity, immune escape, diagnostic or therapeutic escape. And identified to cause significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 clusters, in multiple countries with increasing relative prevalence alongside increasing number of cases over time, or other apparent epidemiological impacts to suggest an emerging risk to global public health, according to the WHO.
Essentially Kappa variant was first detected in India in October 2020, so this is not the first time that the variant cases has been reported, with being found in many states.
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.