December 8, 2023


Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population on July 27, 2021, confirmed the detection of the mutant Kappa variant (B.1.617.1) of COVID-19’s Delta variant. Nepal had already confirmed the presence of Alpha and Delta variants in the country.

What is Kappa variant (B.1.617.1)?

  • The Kappa (B.1.617.1) and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants are the mutants of the B.1.617 variant that was earlier commonly referred to as the Double Mutant or ‘Indian variant’.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified the Kappa variant as Variant of Interest (VoI).

Why were the COVID-19 variants labelled?

  • In order to end the linkage of the variants with origin countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) named these variants after the letters of the Greek alphabet.
  • As per WHO, the new naming system aims at making the discussion of variants as simple, easy to say, and remember as possible.

The naming of different COVID-19 variants

  • The UK variant (B.1.1.7) was named Alpha, the South Africa variant (B.1.351) was named Beta, and the Brazil variant (P.1) was named Gamma.
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