New COVID-19 strains are being reported from across the world, and Papa is one of them. Here are the reasons why the Kappa variant is becoming a topic of concern.

India struggles to emerge from the impact of COVID-19 new coronavirus mutations are stalling its revival plans even though the vaccine rollout is well on its way and people are being inoculated in record numbers. The mutated strains are highly transmissible and may even affect the vaccine efficacy as well.

In the list of known as the World Health Organization has added B. 1.617 dot one strain of COVID-19 India if Has an additional mutation in its spike protein called Q1071Ht as the Kappa is known to have first originated in India and a different mutation in its spike protein called Q1071H.

What is the Kappa variant, and should we be concerned?

In Uttar Pradesh, I2 cases of Kappa variant were detected recently. It is not a new variant and was first seen in India in October 2020. It is sequenced as B dot 1.617 dot one. It is much less intense than other variants while conducting different variants sequencing of 109 samples at King George’s Medical College in Lucknow. The Kappa variant was detected. This variant itself carries several mutations. This is the reason that this variant is also being referred to as double mutant.

Even though a few cases have resurfaced, it is believed that the delta variant replaced Kappa during the second COVID-19 wave. Therefore, the relevant authorities are keeping a close eye on its transmissibility effectiveness against vaccines and severity of symptoms, and it has been classified as variants of interest.

A variant of interest: 

WHO has classified the Kappa variant as a variant of interest instead of a variant of concern. A variant of interest is one with genetic markers that would affect virus characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity, Immune system, diagnostic or therapeutic escape. Such a variant would lead to significant community transmission and may cause apparent epidemiological impacts to suggest an emerging risk to global public health.  

 The US centers for disease control and prevention defines a variant of interest as a variant with specific genetic markers that have been associated with changes to receptor binding, reduced neutralization by antibodies generated previous infection or vaccination, reduced efficacy of treatments, potential diagnostic impact, or predicted increase in transmissibility or disease severity, a variant of concern, on the other hand, is bound to manifest severe symptoms and hi highly transmissible. 

Studies are not conclusive currently in whether an available lot of vaccines are effective against the kappa variant. 

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