Sun, 19 May 2024
( 11 Dhul Qidah 1445 )

Experts issue ‘Covid-19 FLiRT’ warning

13 May, 2024 16:06

A new Covid-19 variant FLiRT is raising eyebrows in the US, however, there is no cause for worry as of now, a top expert said on Sunday.

Maharashtra has recorded 91 cases of the new FLiRT COVID-19 variants since it first emerged in mid-march in the States.

KP.2 belongs to a subset of COVID variants that scientists have cheekily nicknamed “FLiRT,” drawn from the letters in the names of their mutations.

For most of this year, the JN.1 variant of the coronavirus accounted for an overwhelming majority of COVID-19 cases. But now an offshoot variant called KP.2 is taking off.

Dr. David Ho, a virus expert at Columbia University, conducted early lab tests in cells that suggest that slight differences in KP.2’s spike protein might make it better at evading our immune defenses and slightly more infectious than JN.1.

While cases currently don’t appear to be on the rise, researchers and physicians are closely watching whether the variant will drive a summer surge.

Dr. Marc Sala, who is a co-director of the Northwestern Medicine Comprehensive COVID-19 Center in Chicago, believes that things might not change abruptly. But KP.2 will most likely “be our new norm”.

Experts warned that this new variant might take several weeks to hit the spike.

Since the public health emergency ended, there is less robust data available on cases, and doctors said fewer people were using COVID tests.

Experts said that even if you had JN.1, you may still get reinfected with KP.2 — particularly if it’s been several months or longer since your last bout of COVID.

KP.2 could infect even people who got the most updated vaccine, Ho said, since that shot targets XBB.1.5, a variant that is notably different from JN.1 and its descendants.

An early version of a paper released in April by researchers in Japan suggested that KP.2 might be more adept than JN.1 at infecting people who received the most recent COVID vaccine.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top