Jago Grahak Jago

Jago Grahak Jago Logo

FLiRT, the new COVID variants are circulating fast: All about symptoms, severity

May 06,2024

New Delhi: COVID is still there among us and recently two new variants have been found in the US. Termed as the “FLiRT” these two variants include KP.2 which overtook the JN.1 subvariant of Omicron in recent weeks. As per the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, KP.2 is behind one in four infections nationwide.

The other FLiRT variant is KP.1.1 which is also circulating in the US but is less widespread than KP.2. It currently accounts for about 7.5 per cent of infections nationwide, per the CDC.

Why the name FLiRT?

According to the Infectious Disease Society of America, the nickname ‘FLiRT’ is based on the technical names for their mutations. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reclassified it as a variant of interest and advised close monitoring.

The FLiRT variants are spinoffs of JN.1.11.1. They are a part of the Omicron variant.

New COVID variant FLiRT symptoms

The symptoms of the new variant are similar to those of other Omicron subvariants, such as sore throat, cough, fatigue, nasal congestion, runny nose, headache, muscle aches, fever, and possible loss of taste and smell, experts have said.

“The KP.2 variant (also called JN. is a descendant of the JN.1 variant and contains several mutations that are associated with escape from vaccine-mediated immune protection. Preliminary research (not yet peer-reviewed) suggests that the estimated relative effective reproduction number of KP.2 (Re) may be 1.22 times higher than the Re for JN.1,” Infectious Disease Society of America has said in a report.

FLiRT, which belongs to Omicron’s JN.1 lineage, is rapidly replacing the previous variant, Eris, in the US, the UK, New Zealand, and South Korea, according to Rajeev Gupta, Director of Internal Medicine at the CK Birla Hospital (R), Delhi. “A recent increase in hospitalisation rates in these countries has been attributed to this variant; however, it has remained a relatively small wave. The overall mortality rate has not increased,” he told news agency IANS.

“Fortunately, none of the Omicron lineage is able to induce significant lung damage as delta strain did but limited to the upper respiratory tract. The surveillance and vigilance should be kept for major drift in virus,” Dhiren Gupta, a Pediatric Intensivist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital told IANS and added that these new strains will keep emerging.

COVID-19 preventive measures include practicing good hand hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizer, wearing masks in crowded or indoor settings, maintaining physical distance from others, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home when feeling unwell. Vaccination against COVID-19 is strongly recommended to reduce the risk of infection, severe illness, and transmission. Additionally, following public health guidelines, such as ventilation in indoor spaces and regular testing, can help mitigate the spread of the virus. Combining these measures provides a comprehensive approach to protecting oneself and others from COVID-19.

Source: Healthworld

Leave a Comment

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