Covid-19: 2 Kappa variant samples traced in Lucknow genome study; here is what experts have to say

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July 10, 2021 1:24 PM

Both Kappa and Delta variant are like siblings or common descendants of the double mutant which is in scientific parlance known as B.1.617.

Owing to its infectious nature, many health experts have also said that double mutant and its descendant Delta variant may have been one of the major causes behind the ferocious second wave in the country.Owing to its infectious nature, many health experts have also said that double mutant and its descendant Delta variant may have been one of the major causes behind the ferocious second wave in the country.

In a significant development, the Uttar Pradesh government revealed the results of a genome sequencing study conducted at Lucknow’s King George Medical University. Out of the 109 samples that were analysed as part of the genome sequencing study, the Kappa variant was found to be present in two samples while the other 107 samples were related to the Delta variant, the Indian Express reported. With several variants of Coronavirus feared to have adverse potential, the finding of Kappa variant among the samples is significant.

What is the Kappa variant?
The Kappa variant is not a newly discovered variant of Coronavirus and was earlier known by a different name. Only recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) renamed the variant as Kappa variant. According to an Indian Express report, both Kappa and Delta variant are like siblings or common descendants of the double mutant which is in scientific parlance known as B.1.617. Taking cognisance of various countries including India objecting to the use of country’s name to distinguish one variant from another, the WHO started renaming the variants of Coronavirus and identified variants with the Greek alphabet letters like Lambda, Delta, among others.

Initially the double mutant was referred to as the Indian variant but by the time the WHO could name the variant it had already produced three descendant mutants namely- B.1.617,1, B.1.617.2, and B.1.617.3. Out of these the B.1.617.1 variant was named Kappa and the B.1.617.2 variant was called Delta that has also become the dominant variant of Coronavirus in the country at present. The third descendant of the double mutant B.1.617.3 was not given any name by the WHO as it was not found to be dominant.

Is the Kappa variant dangerous?
Since the Kappa variant has been around in the country for quite some time, experts have said that the Kappa variant is not an emerging threat. UP officials told the Indian Express that the variant had been found earlier also in samples and it is not a new variant which can pose a threat to the vulnerable population. The state’s Additional Chief Secretary (Health), Amit Mohan Prasad was quoted as saying that the Kappa variant cases have been found intermittently since April and there is nothing to worry about the variant.

The potential danger from the Kappa variant is minimal also because of the fact that despite being present in the country for a few months, it has not been able to become a dominant strain of the virus. On the other hand, another descendant of the double mutant Delta variant has become dominant in the country. Owing to its infectious nature, many health experts have also said that double mutant and its descendant Delta variant may have been one of the major causes behind the ferocious second wave in the country.

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