With the authorities in India preparing for the speculated third wave of coronavirus, two cases of Kappa variant have been detected in Uttar Pradesh. On Friday, the Uttar Pradesh government confirmed the presence of the Kappa variant in the state as two samples tested positive with the ‘variant of interest’.
Out of 109 samples tested in Lucknow’s King George Medical college for genome sequencing, 107 came positive with Delta Variant and 2 with Kappa variant. State Additional Chief secretary of health Amit Mohan Mishra said the presence of the variant is ‘not a cause of concern’ and earlier as good cases of the said variant was detected in UP.
Commenting on the detection of Kappa Variant in Uttar Pradesh, the Ministry of Health during its briefing said the variant is not new for India, as it was detected way before in October 2020 along with the Delta variant. Dr V K Paul, Member health, Niti Aayog, said during the press briefing, that the Kappa variant got overshadowed by the Delta variant in India but has stayed in the country if its cases are being detected.
"If cases are detected, this means that the variant has stayed in the country. Delta is a related variant of Kappa. The Kappa variant is of much less intensity. The country has many variants and not all cases are of Delta variant. Our watch will continue," Dr VK Paul said.
The Kappa variant is a double mutant variant of coronavirus and belongs to the same lineage as the Delta variant. Both the variants originated in India and were detected last year in October. While Delta variant was more transmissible and had driven the ferocious second wave in the country. The Kappa variant is not that intense. The Kappa variant has been classified as a variant of interest by the WHO, in contrast with the Delta variant which is driving the COVID-19 upsurge across the globe, was classified as a variant of concern.
It belongs to the lineage of the delta variant which is B.1.617.2 and the Kappa variant is B.1.617.1. It consists of two mutations-- E484Q and L452R. The L452R mutation is believed to help the mutant variant to escape the body's natural immune response.
No, this is not the first instance as the virus has been present in the country since October 2020, as updated by WHO on its website about variants of SARS-CoV-2. Hence the virus is expected to travel across states, infecting many people.
According to the Union health ministry's June data, there were 3,969 Alpha, 149 Beta, 1 Gamma, and 16,238 ( Delta & Kappa-- B.1.617 lineage) variant cases in India. As per the ministry, The B.1.617 (Delta / Kappa) lineage was first detected in Maharashtra.
However Indian officials are keeping a vigil over the Lambda variant, which has not yet been detected in the country. However, the variant first discovered in Peru, has spread to 30 countries and is a variant of concern for WHO.
Lambda variant of coronavirus is a variant of interest. We should be watchful of such variants. As of now, there is no evidence that this variant has been identified in India: Dr. VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog pic.twitter.com/XjbP3XgKeI— ANI (@ANI) July 9, 2021