Two Coronavirus variants that are now the talk of the health circle are the dominant Delta variant and the newly identified Kappa variant. The results of the Uttar Pradesh government’s genome sequencing of the SARS-Cov-2 virus is out and it suggests out of 109 samples, 107 was the Delta variant, and the remaining two, the Kappa variant
Kappa variant of coronavirus has long been there but it is only recently WHO identified it as a different variant and named it. Its presence in the Indian population has now decreased.
What are Delta and kappa variants of Covid-19?
Both Delta and kappa variants are direct descendants of B.1.617, called the double mutant. Previously the variants were named after their origin nation, but as it leads to name-calling and blame game, WHO named them after letters of Greek alphabets. Earlier the double mutant was called the “India variant” as there were the UK Variant, “South Africa variant”
But now, the B.1.617 variant has further mutated to B.1.617,1, B.1.617.2, and B.1.617.3 variants. The first two are Kappa and Delta variants while the third one was not widespread and hence was not named. So the variant that emerged in the UK (B.1.1.7) was called Alpha and that in South Africa was termed Beta Brazil variant was named Gamma
Hence Kappa variant found in few samples is of not much concern as it has been there for several months now without spreading widely.
Cause of concern if any
According to the state’s Additional Chief Secretary (Health), Amit Mohan Prasad, the Kappa variant is present since April and hence is not of major concern. In fact it was earlier studied and found to be less dangerous than the Delta variant.
The Delta variant was the reason for the Covid-19 second wave infections that were first detected from samples in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha. It was faster transmitting then the other mutants circulating in the population, including the original SARS-CoV-2.
At WHO as well, Delta is a “variant of concern” and Kappa is classified “variant of interest” to scale its threat
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