11 cases of COVID-19 Kappa variant found in Rajasthan, government on alert

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Eleven cases of the Kappa variant of COVID-19 have been detected in Rajasthan, said State Health Minister Raghu Sharma on Tuesday (July 13).

Addressing a press briefing last week, Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, NITI Aayog had said that the Kappa variant of COVID-19 is a “variant of interest” and it is not a new variant as cases have been reported in the country before.

He further informed that Kappa variant is of much less intensity and was earlier reported in February and March.

“If cases are detected, this means that the variant has stayed in the country. Kappa is much less in its intensity. Our watch will continue. Kappa variant was earlier reported in February and March also,” said Dr Paul. 

Kappa is not a new strain. First detected in October 2020 by India, the Kappa variant is designated as a variant of interest and is identified as B.1.617.1, as per the World Health Organization (WHO) website. While it was already known last year, the Kappa variant was designated as a variant of interest around 5 months after its detection on April 4, 2021.

The Kappa variant is a double mutant with the same lineage as the Delta variant which is identified as B.1.617.1. Interestingly the Delta variant, discovered around the same times as Kappa, was declared a variant of interest on the same date of April 4. It was redesignated a variant of concern more than a month later on May 11.

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