Four New COVID Variants on Watchlist Apart From Delta Plus: Report

Apart from the Delta Plus variant, four more variants, which are emerging, have caught health experts’ eye.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Apart from the Delta Plus variant, four more variants which are emerging have caught health experts’ eye. How concerning are these new variants? Image used for representation only.</p></div>

The recent decision by the Centre to term Delta Plus, a mutation of the Delta COVID-19 variant, has put several other emerging variants of the virus on the watchlist.

The Delta Plus mutation became of particular concern due to the nature of the mutation, K417N. This mutation was earlier seen in the Beta variant found in South Africa and trials and studies show that vaccines have not worked well against the Beta variant.

Apart from the Delta Plus variant, four more variants which are emerging have caught health experts’ eye. The variants include B.1.617.3, a relative of the Delta variant; B.11.318, which has 14 mutations; Lambda, a variant identified by Public Health England and has been classified as a variant of interest (VOI) by the World Health Organization; and Kappa or B.1.617.1.

How concerning are these new variants of the virus?


Kappa Variant

According to experts, the Kappa variant or the double mutant strain of the virus, known as B.1.167.1, has raised red flags and led to widespread gene surveillance to look for its prevalence and spread.

The double mutation comprises of two variants of the virus, making it a distance lineage. These include the E484Q mutation, which is similar to another variant, the E484K, found in the fast-spreading Brazilian and South African variants of concern. It also includes the L452R mutation, which helps the virus escape our body’s natural immune response.

Lambda Variant

The WHO classified as ‘Variant of Interest’ on 14 June. The variant was first identified in Peru in August 2020 and has since spread to 29 countries, mostly in Latin America.

The Lambda variant has also reached the United Kingdom, where Public Health England has added it to variants under investigation. The variant is concerning due to its notable mutations, including L452Q and F490S.

According to UK health officials, there is no evidence currently that the variant causes more severe diseases or renders the vaccines ineffective.

B.11.318 And B.1.617.3

The B1.617.3 is part of the lineage of the B.1.617 lineage, first detected in India. It’s a sibling of the Delta variant B.1.617.2, which caused the deadly second wave in India.

The B.1.617.3 variant has not been classified as a variant of interest or concern by any health authority so far.

According to a Times of India report, the B.11.318 variant contains the mutation E484K, similar to Kappa, and India, so far, has reported two genome sequences of this emerging variant.

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