What To Know About Covid’s Kappa Variant And Is It A Matter Of Concern?

Cities are emerging gradually from lockdowns that took place because of the coronavirus second wave, and the primary focus is on vaccination to make the immune stronger. However, the deadly virus is continuing to outsmart science and other transmitted variants are the major concern for experts.

Today, two cases of Kappa variant have been reported, and both are in Uttar Pradesh. They were detected at the time of checking 109 samples at King George medical college in Lucknow. The patient who was 66-year old died due to a virus which led to panic among people.

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What are the things to know about the Kappa variant and is it dangerous?

The virus is not new. It is connected with the B.1.617 constellation of mutations; it is the one that got detected in India first and has been around for a while. Delta variant B.1.167.2 replaced this version, which was reported first in October 2020 in the country.

Later in May 2021, the variant was named Kappa. The virus has various mutations with it, and till now two of them have been identified – L452R and E484Q. Because of these mutations, Kappa is also considered a double mutant.

L452R mutation has been closely monitored by experts because it helps the virus escape the natural immune response of the body.

As per the Munich-based GISAID, this has a database all over the world, till now India has submitted the samples of more than 4,000 of Kappa virus, which has been considered the highest worldwide.

In the past weeks, two variant samples have been submitted by the country.

What World Health Organization (WHO) has to say about Kappa?

It has been characterized as a Variant of interest (VOI) by the World Health Organization.

It is known as a SARS CoV-2 variant with major changes genetically which are known to or predicted to affect virus characteristics like disease severity, transmissibility, therapeutic or diagnostic escape.

The virus which has been identified to cause the significant transmission to the community or various COVID-19 clusters, in different countries increase in relative prevalence along with the increase in the total number of cases over time, or any other impact to suggest an emerging risk to public health globally.

What are the names of the variants?

World Health Organization asked the group of experts and scientists to consider non-stigmatizing and easy-to-pronounce labels for variants of concern and variants of interest.

It has been recommended to use the letters of Greek Alphabet which are Beta, Alpha, Delta, Gamma, Kappa, etc. where people will get help from the non-scientific community.

Are vaccines effective against the variants?

It was found in the study recently that Covaxin worked well for Kappa, along with the Delta and Beta versions of coronavirus.

Last month, as per the study that has been done by the researchers at Oxford University, vaccines made by AstraZeneca, were useful against Kappa and Delta variant of COVID-19. AstraZeneca has been used as a Covishield vaccine in India.