Photo: Unsplash
Photo: Unsplash

New Delhi: Rajasthan on Tuesday (July 13) confirmed the new cases of the Kappa variant of COVID-19. This comes a few days after Uttar Pradesh and Tripura reported the fresh cases of the Kappa variant, which, according to the World Health Organisation, is a 'variant of interest' (VOI).

Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said that eleven cases have been detected in the state. Of these, four cases each are from Alwar and Jaipur, two from Barmer and one is from Bhilwara. Nine of the 11 samples were tested in IGIB lab in Delhi while 2 were tested in Jaipur. 'According to experts, the Kappa variant is more moderate in comparison to Delta variant but people should follow the Covid protocol," said Raghu Sharma, the health minister of Rajasthan. The Delta variant had fuelled India's second wave of coronavirus.

It is to note that new cases of Covid-19 in Rajasthan are now below 50 per day. There were 28 new cases on Tuesday and 25 out of 33 districts had no cases.

Talking about vaccine shortage, Sharma said the state is facing shortage. "We have constantly been telling the Centre. We have the capacity to vaccinate 15 lakh people so it would be better if we receive advance doses for at least four days," he added.

Earlier, two samples in Uttar Pradesh and 11 in Tripura were tested positive for the Kappa COVID-19 variant.

B.1.617.1, also known as the Kappa variant and Delta, represented as B.1.617.2, were first identified in India in October 2020. Both Delta and Kappa belong to the same lineage of B.1.617. Kappa variant is a double variant as delta because of two mutations -- EE484Q and L452R.

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.

On WHO's list of SARS-CoV-2 variants, a VOI is a variant with genetic changes that are predicted or known to affect virus characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity, immune escape, diagnostic or therapeutic escape.

The variant is also identified to cause significant community transmission or multiple COVID-19 clusters, in multiple countries with increasing relative prevalence alongside an increasing number of cases over time, or other apparent epidemiological impacts to suggest an emerging risk to global public health.

(With agency inputs)

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