Lucknow: Two cases of the Kappa variant have been detected in Uttar Pradesh as per an official statement that was released on Tuesday.
On one hand, while the country is trying to vaccinate maximum people as quickly as possible, there are new variants emerging every day making the fight against the pandemic more difficult.
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.
While some variants like the Alpha and Delta variants have left a trail of destruction in their wake, others have been largely inconsequential.
While the potential threat of the Delta plus variant looms in India, two cases of the Kappa variant detected in UP have sparked renewed concerns.
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Should we be alarmed?
The Kappa was first identified in India back in October 2020 by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The B.1.617.1 COVID variant is called the Kappa variant, which belongs to the lineage of the B.1.617 SARS-CoV-2 variant that also mutated to form the Delta variant (B.1.1617.2).
It comprises multiple mutations but is known as a double mutation owing to the two notable mutations, E484Q and L452R on the spike protein.
However, the Delta variant turned out to be far more infectious than the Kappa variant.
The WHO assigned Kappa the status of the variant of interest (VOI) in April. This means, though the variant is not a cause for immediate concern, it is being closely watched and studied.
In comparison to the Delta Variant
Delta variant is considered one of the most infectious COVID-19 variants to date having rapidly spread in over 100 countries with the WHO calling it the “the fastest and fittest”, variant.
The Delta variant which is also thought to be the primary cause for the devastation caused by the second wave in India is classified as a variant of concern by the WHO and is considered a much larger threat than the Kappa variant at the moment.
Do the vaccines work against it?
Bharat Biotech in a statement said their COVID vaccine, Covaxin was effective against the Kappa variant along with other COVID variants.
A recent study also found that the Moderna mRNA vaccine is also effective against the Kappa variant.
A study conducted by the University of Oxford points the AstraZeneca vaccine (Covishield in India) also provides a good antibody response against the variant.