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Kappa and Lambda variants

  • Vaid's ICS, Lucknow
  • 10, Jul 2021
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Why in News?

Kappa and Lambda variants have been labelled as Variants of Interest (VoI) by WHO.

Concerns for India:

  1. Kappa was first detected in India and more than 3,500 of the close to 30,000 cumulative samples submitted by the country to the GISAID initiativeare of this variant.
  2. In the last 60 days, the Kappa variant has made up 3 per cent of all samples submitted by India. India, in fact, leads the GISAID table for Kappa submissions and is followed by the UK, US, Canada, etc.


What is Lambda?

  • Lambda is the newest VoI identified by the UN health agency.
  • It was first identified in Peru in December last year and has so far been detected in samples from about 26 countries shared with GISAID.
  • The highest number of samples submitted is from Chile followed by the Peru is third on the list.

What is a Variant of Interest?

  • This means that the genetic changes involved are predicted or known to affect transmissibility, disease severity, or immune escape.
  • It is also an acknowledgement of the fact that the variant has caused significant community transmission in multiple countries and population groups.

Variant of Concern:

  • A variant for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease (e.g., increased hospitalizations or deaths), significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.

Facts for Prelims:

White flag) movement:

In Malaysia, some residents of low-income families have started waving white flags as part of the so-called “White Flag Campaign”, or the #benderaputi (white flag) movement.

  • They are doing this to convey distress about the financial crunch they have had to deal with amid the lockdowns due to Covid-19. Malaysia enforced another lockdown on June 1 in order to control another surge of Covid infections.
  • As part of the movement that was initiated last week, families that are facing hunger or need any other kind of assistance are encouraged to wave a white flag or put a piece of white cloth outside their homes to signal that they need help.
  • The idea is that by spotting the white flag, neighbours and good samaritans can reach them.

Black flag movement:

  • Alongside the white flag movement, there is the black flag movement as well, in order to express dissatisfaction with the Malaysian government.
  • Specifically, this movement is demanding that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin resign.