What is the Kappa variant of COVID? Is it Dangerous? Should you Worry?

Published: July 10,2021 01:58 PM

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Kappa has been termed as Variant of Interest (VOI). Both Covaxin and Covishield are said to be effective against it

July 10, 2021: Even as India and the world’s fight against Covid continues, the deadly SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus continues to outsmart science. More transmissible variants are emerging causing concerns for medical experts and governments. The latest to add to the list of Covid variants is Kappa.

India has so far reported two cases of the variant. Both the cases are in Uttar Pradesh. They were detected during a genome sequencing of 109 samples at King George medical college in Lucknow. One of the patients, a 66-year-old man, has died. This has created panic among people.

What Is The Kappa Variant? 

The Kappa is not new. It is linked to the B.1.617 constellation of mutations; it is the B.1.167.1 first detected in India and has been around for some time. It was replaced by the B.1.167.2 or Delta variant, first reported in the country in October. The World Health Organization (WHO) named the variant Kappa in late May.

This variant has been found to carry over a dozen mutations, of which two have been identified - E484Q and L452R. Because of this, Kappa is also referred to as a "double mutant".

According to the Munich-based GISAID, which maintains a worldwide database of coronavirus genomes, India has so far submitted 3,693 Kappa samples, the highest in the world.

Should You Be Worried?

According to WHO, Kappa is a Variant of Interest (VOI). It's a SARS-CoV-2 variant.

The Kappa variant is not a new emergence. It has been present in the Indian population for several months now. It is actually the B.1.617 variant earlier known as the India variant.

Even Uttar Pradesh officials, where two positive cases were found, have said that the Kappa variant is not a new threat, and that Kappa cases were detected earlier. The Kappa variant has earlier been assessed to be less dangerous than the Delta variant.

How Effective Are Vaccines Against Kappa?

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has stated that Covaxin is effective for Kappa. Studies have said that vaccines made by AstraZeneca (Covishield in India) are effective against Kappa variants of COVID-19.