Published By: Admin

Stay Informed: Addressing the Concerns regarding New Covid Variant as Cases Rise in India

The new FLiRT variant derives from the deadly Omicron variant and is linked to the JN.1, the variant that caused a sudden rise in corona infection in late 2023.

Just when the countries are battling with economic slowdown, here comes the news of another COVID-19 variant potential to create havoc. According to experts “one particular variant is of rising concern: KP.2.”

FLiRT variants have caused a hike in COVID-19 cases in the USA, UK, and South Korea. According to a recent US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, “KP.2 has accounted for about 25 per cent of new sequenced cases”

Over the last few months, Covid cases are rising at a rapid rate amidst ongoing Lok Sabha election. Whenever we get any new update about coronavirus we get afraid. As the news regarding ‘FLiRT’ is trending globally, people are of course a bit worried now. Let's find out the truth if we need to worry or not.

Rise of Covid Cases in India:

As per the researchers at INSACOG (India SarsCov2 Genomics Consortium), “KP.2 infection was first detected in samples of a patient collected in Pune on February 8 this year and found in samples collected from Thane on February 15. Transmission of FLiRT infection increased in seven more districts of Maharashtra by March.”

A Matter of Concern?

According to Dr M Wali, Senior Consultant, Department of Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, “The lineage has been modified and identified recently in those who have decreased immunity after booster, especially after MRNA vaccines. Preliminary research suggests that the relative effective reproduction number of KP.2 maybe 1.22 times higher than the JN.1. Apart from these technicalities India need not worry because our immunity is acquired and so far no new vaccine has been recommended.”

Symptoms of FLiRT Variants:

“The symptoms of FLiRT variants are similar to that of JN.1. Many individuals might also have symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting,” said Dr. Tayal, Lead Consultant, Department of Internal Medicine, CK Birla Hospital.

The most common symptoms include runny nose, cough, sore throat, body aches, and shortness of breath.

Safety Tips:

Any virus will evolve, so, people should always be alert. The most important step is vaccinating yourself and isolating if symptoms are prominent. Consider wearing masks in public areas. Moreover, maintain hand hygiene properly.

Words from WHO:

In a recent statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) “Basing future vaccine formulations on the JN.1 lineage, since it seems the virus will continue to evolve from that variant. The most recent booster was based on an older strain, XBB.1.5.”

Will Your Vaccine Work Against FLiRT Variants?

This is common query around the world currently. The answer is yes, it can. The vaccines administered in your body can actively fight against FLiRT Variants.

However, two initial reports from Japan and China showed “The FLiRT variants may be better at dodging immune protection from vaccines than JN.1 was.”

“This is not a good sign, as many people, who got the recent booster shots, got it last fall. This means their protection has begun to diminish,” said Dr. Eric Topol, Executive Vice President at Scripps Research.

The scientists are analysing extensively to gather more information about FLiRT variants.