Published By: Admin

Viral Twist: All You Need to Know about New Covid Strain FLiRT

Just when the countries are battling with economic slowdown, here comes the news of another COVID-19 strain potential to create havoc.

Since December 2023, there was a rise in Corona virus infections. Several hospitalization and deaths were reported in USA. Even, many parts of the world reported the same since mid-April. This prompted researchers to study more for any new wave of Corona virus. Now, scientists have confirmed the presence of “a new family of variants of COVID-19” named FLiRT.

In this article, we will discuss about this new variant in detail.

What is COVID-19 FLiRT Variant?

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

As per recent scientific publication: “The letters in FLiRT variants are based on the technical names of their mutations, one which includes the letters F and L, and another one includes the letters R and T. Within this group of variants, one particular variant is of rising concern: KP.2.”

Current State of Infection:

According to US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, “KP.2 has accounted for about 25 per cent of new sequenced cases during the two weeks ending April 27.”

Other FLiRT variants, including KP.1.1, are yet to spread in the US.

Do You Need to Worry?

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.

Dr. Eric Topol, Executive Vice President at Scripps Research, said that “The KP.2 variant from the family of variants is on the rise in the US, but it will be too soon to tell whether it will cause a major surge in cases in coming months.”

“KP.2 and its relatives are likely to cause an uptick in cases in the States, but won’t cause a big wave. It might be a wavelet. That’s because people who were recently infected by the JN.1 variant seem to have some protection against re-infection. Also, the virus hasn’t mutated enough to become wildly different from the previous strains,” Topol mentioned.

“For now, the amount of Covid-19 viruses in US wastewater remains minimal,” according to the CDC.

A group of researchers from Japan confirmed that “KP.2 is less infectious than JN.1.” in there recent study.

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,” Topol said.

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.”

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.

The researchers are studying extensively to gather more information about FLiRT variants.