Two cases of COVID-19 Kappa variant detected in UP: How is this different from Delta variant

The state of Uttar Pradesh on Friday reported two special cases of the Kappa variant of the 2019 novel coronavirus. The two cases have been confirmed by King George’s Medical College in Uttar Pradesh where the genome sequencing of 109 samples took place recently.

According to an official report, out of the 109 samples taken by experts, 107 Delta Plus variant cases were found. While some reports claim that there were three cases of Kappa variant in the state. This, after the first patient detected with this variant, a 66-year-old resident, has reportedly succumbed to the disease.

The state's Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad, however, said that "there is nothing to worry" as treatment is possible for these variants of coronavirus. Prasad also informed that these were the not first cases, as such "variants were found in the state earlier as well".

Meanwhile, a statement issued after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's COVID-19 review meeting said that the facility of genome sequencing is being increased in the state.

What is Genome sequencing?

It is a laboratory process where experts are involved in characterising the mutations and tracking disease outbreaks. Currently, the daily positivity rate in Uttar Pradesh is 0.04 percent.

According to the Union Health Ministry’s recent report, there were 16,238 Delta and Kappa, 3,969 Alpha, one Gamma, and 149 Beta variant cases all over the country.

What is Kappa variant?

The Kappa variant of coronavirus, according to World Health Organisation (WHO), was first detected in India in October 2020. Since then, the variant has been identified as B.1.617.1 while Delta is signified as B.1.617.2. This variant is also not a new one. So far, the WHO has not termed the Kappa variant as a concern but only as a ‘variant of interest’.

What is the main difference between Delta and Kappa?

Both these variants have been reported first in India in October 2020. The Delta became a variant of concern in May this year while Kappa is termed to be a variant of interest only on 4 April.

So far, Kappa is referred to as a double mutant. However, the Delta variant has emerged as a threat across the world. In fact, the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit India was also because of the Delta variant.