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Kappa Variant: Covid-19

Kappa Variant: Covid-19

Why in news?

  • Recently, two cases of the Kappa variant of Covid-19 have been recorded in Uttar Pradesh (UP).
  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Kappa is one of the two Covid-19 variants, the other being Delta, first identified in India.
  • Earlier a new variant Lambda was reported from Peru.

Kappa variant

  • It is one among three sub-lineages of lineage B.1.617.
  • It is also known as lineage B.1.617.1, carrying E484Q mutations.
  • It was first detected in December 2020 in India.                      Kappa Variant: Covid-19
  • Kappa accounted for more than half of sequences being submitted from India by March 2021.
  • As per WHO Weekly Epidemiological Update, 34 countries had reported cases of this subvariant.
  • By May 2021, number of countries had increased to 41.
  • United Kingdom had detected 418 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 Kappa variant as of May 2021.
  • It is still listed among ‘variants of interest’ and not ‘variants of concern’ by the WHO.

What is the difference between ‘Variant of Interest’ and ‘Variant of Concern’?

  • The Variant of Interest, unlike the Variant of Concern that has previously made headlines in the newspapers worldwide, are monitored by the health organizations but are not proved yet to be significant threats to the general public health.            Kappa Variant: Covid-19
  • On the other hand, Variant of Concern is the one that has been identified as a major threat with a capability of spreading at a faster pace and infecting a large number of people.
  • The most recent example is the Delta variant which was first identified in India. It was first labeled as the ‘Variant of Interest’ until May 11, 2021, however, its rapid spread around the world prompted the World Health Organisation to classify it as a ‘Variant of Concern’.


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