As many new variants are emerging such as Kappa, Lambda and Delta Plus, it is evident that the second wave of Covid-19 is not over yet. Though daily cases are declining, they are still higher in smaller states like the northeast. The new variant Kappa is a concern as India reported two cases of it in Uttar Pradesh.
Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog says the Kappa variant has been present in India since March and experts are researching the scientific impact and vaccine immunity of the Kappa variant. It is a Variant of Interest (VoI) and is being examined by the surveillance system. Also, the Lambda variant of coronavirus is the seventh variant of interest as well. Though there is no evidence of this variant in India, the world sees 25 nations detected with Lamda variant out of which 80% are in Peru.
First detected in India, it is a variant that is linked to the B.1.617 lineage of mutations that has also given rise to the Delta variant. B.1.617 has been found to carry more than a dozen mutations of which two stand out: E484Q and L452R, which is why this variant has also been called the “double mutant”. WHO states that it “has been identified to cause community transmission/multiple Covid-19 cases/clusters, or has been detected in multiple countries”.
Lambda is also known as the C.37 variant. It was first identified in Peru in December last year and spread to nearly 26 countries. The highest number of samples submitted is from Chile followed by the US. Peru is third on the list. The Lambda variant belongs to the B.1.1.1 lineage, which has been identified in as many as 29 countries, including North and South America, Europe and Oceania.
Delta plus variant has been formed due to a mutation in the Delta or B.1.617.2 variant and it is first identified in India. This could be a major trigger for the third wave in India as well. The variant has also been detected in nine countries, including UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Japan, Nepal, China, and Russia, apart from India.
In conclusion, India is filled with a number of viruses and infections at the moment, leaving citizens extremely scared. Experts are more concerned about the Lambda variant because it is being doubted as a possible threat due to its high transmissibility and mutation features. The Lambda variant carries at least 7 mutations in its spike proteins, which is precarious and fast transmitted. The variant is also much scarier than the Alpha and Gamma variants of the virus.
Adding more ordeal, we also have the Zika virus which, of course, has nothing to do with variants. It is a mosquito-borne viral infection and Kerala reported 13 cases of Zika virus for the first time. Zika virus spreads by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The mosquitoes bite both during the day and night. The Aedes mosquito is also known as Ae. aegypti and Ae. Albopictus also causes illnesses such as dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.