Among the 109 samples analyzed at Lucknow’s King George medical college, two cases of the Kappa variation of COVID-19 were found. It has been present in the Indian community for a few months, but little was said about it because the dominant strain in circulation was the ‘Double Mutant’ Delta. The World Health Organization has only recently named the Kappa variety (WHO).
The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) is actively monitoring another COVID-19 variant, the Lambda variant, although no cases of this variant have yet been documented in India.
Here are some things you need to know about these two COVID-19 versions.
- The Kappa version, like the Delta variant, is a double mutant.
- The Kappa strain was discovered in India for the first time in October 2020, according to the WHO. B.1.617.1 is the code for it, and B.1.617.2 is the code for Delta.
- The Kappa variant was designated as a ‘variant of interest’ by the WHO on April 4th, rather than a ‘variant of concern.’
- It’s a “variant with genetic modifications that are expected or known to affect virus features such as transmissibility, illness severity, immunological escape, diagnostic or therapeutic escape,” according to the definition. It’s worth noting that “variants of concern” represent a far bigger threat, according to WHO.
- Antibody-neutralizing double mutations in the Kappa form have raised worries that the vaccine’s effectiveness, as well as the natural immunity generated by COVID infection, could be harmed.
- Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca’s vaccines were found to be broadly effective against the Kappa variation in a study released in June.
- Lambda was first discovered in August 2020 in Peru. In December 2020, the first sample was taken.
- It has so far spread to 31 nations, including the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as numerous South American countries.
- The spike protein of the Lambda version has seven mutations. One of these alterations, L452Q, could make it more infectious (it’s related to the Delta variant’s L452R mutation, which made it more virulent).
- Due to its unique mutations, the Lambda variety may have enhanced transmissibility and increased vaccination resistance, according to the WHO. It’s also possible that the strain can avoid the body’s immune system.
- Existing mRNA vaccines can neutralize the Lambda form, according to the small number of experiments done thus far. More research is needed, however, to prove that immunizations are effective against it.