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What is the COVID FLiRT Variant Symptoms and Precautions

What is the COVID FLiRT Variant? Symptoms and Precautions

Know About the ‘FLiRT’ Variant of COVID-19

FLiRT is the phrase being used to represent a whole family of other variants, including KP.2, JN.1.7, and any different variants starting with KP or JN that seem to have decided up the same set of mutations, according to Andy Pekosz, PhD, a professor in molecular microbiology and immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, in an article published by the university.

“They are all descendants of the JN.1 variant that has been dominant in the U.S. for the past several months,” Pekosz said in the piece. “Viruses like the SARS-CoV-2 evolve a lot, and when they do so to avoid being recognized by antibodies, it typically makes it harder for them to attach to the cells they want to infect. Afterwards, we see that mutations that enhance that binding capacity surface.”

Using wastewater monitoring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified a novel group of COVID-19 variations known as FLiRT. About 28% of the cases in the US between April 28 and May 11 are of the variety known as KP.2, the CDC reports. Overtaking JN.1, that makes it the new dominant variation in the nation. About sixteen percent of COVID-19 cases in the United States over the same two weeks were JN.1 variety, which spread throughout the world during the winter.

According to CDC data, KP.1.1, another Circulating FLiRT variant, made up about 7% of COVID-19 cases in that two-week span.

“The CDC is tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants KP.2 and KP.1.1, occasionally guided to as FLiRT Variant and performing to understand their potential impact on public health better,” the agency said in an emailed declaration to USA TODAY previous week.

“Presently, KP.2 is the prevalent variant in the United States, but laboratory testing data predict low levels of SARS-CoV-2 transmission all-around at this period. That indicates that while KP.2 is proportionally the most dominant variant, it is not generating an increase in diseases as transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is low,” the CDC said in the report.

What are the Symptoms of FLiRT COVID?

According to the CDC, FLiRT’s Symptoms specifically affect the upper respiratory tract and include a sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, fever, headache, and loss of taste and fragrance. Hospitalization rates for patients with these signs are not higher than usual. However, this variant is highly infectious, as it can fast spread from an infected individual to a healthy person due to new transformations in the virus.

The FLiRT Variant reportedly has similar symptoms to those from JN.1 which include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • “Brain fog” (feeling less wakeful and aware)

Gastrointestinal signs (upset stomach, mild diarrhea, vomiting)

The CDC reports that the list does not contain all possible signs and that symptoms may transform with new variants and can vary by someone.

The agency says that people with COVID-19 have a wide spectrum of symptoms, ranging from mild to extreme illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after vulnerability.

Important facts related to FLiRT variant you must know

Dr. Arunesh Kumar, Sr Consultant & Head – of Respiratory Medicine, Paras Health, Gurugram, shares vital facts about the FLiRT variant:

1) Can they evade immunity?

According to The Infectious Disease Society of America, this new COVID variant is a subvariant of the Omicron variant, called FLiRT. It is Called FLiRT Variant because of the transformations in its genetic modifications at positions 456 and 346. These variants are circulating rapidly across states in the US, and they may be able to avoid the immune system.

2) Which one’s conquering more?

FLiRT Variant is comprised of two important variants, namely KP.2 and KP.1.1, which are sub-variants of Pirola and JN.1 of the Omicron family. The former variant is dispersing at a rapid pace, while the latter is predicted to donate to about 7.5% of new COVID-19 subjects in the US.

3) How does this new variant transmit?

FLiRT Variant is dispersed by someone’s respiratory droplets to others, by touching infected surfaces like kitchen countertops, slabs, faucets, and elevator switches, or by being in close immediacy to the sick person. The focus now is on more extensive steps to slow the transmission of common respiratory viruses such as COVID-19, RSV, and influenza.

“However, FLiRT Variant a short surge, and there is no necessity to panic. We should stay awake and provide enhanced testing, targeted vaccinations, and persistent commitment to preventive steps that are necessary to prevent transmission. By staying familiar, vigilant, and united, we guide this new variant with strength, prioritizing confirmed health and well-being. We should attach to COVID-friendly protocols, i.e., cleaning hands properly, wearing masks; people of specific age groups such as kids and seniors should pay extra attention, as should individuals with comorbid conditions,” says Dr Kataria.

How Dangerous is FLiRT?

In the wake of weakening immunity and social distancing no longer being the standard, it’s essential to stay alert against the new COVID threat. Here are the critical attributes of FLiRT.

Amid the departure of AstraZeneca’s Covishield and physicians calling for a review of the science behind Covid vaccines, two new variants of the Omicron family collectively known as FLiRT are circulating in the US. It has sparked Anxiety of a fresh wave. This left everyone apprehensive and curious regarding the variants KP.2 and KP.11, which have experienced new conversions and have become more infectious than previous variants.

They can avoid immunity from vaccines and prior disorders. The signs largely remain identical, like fever, cough, fatigue, digestive trouble, etc. In the wake of weakening immunity and social distancing elongating a norm, it’s important to stay alert against the new COVID threat.

How can I stay safe from new COVID-19 FLiRT variants?

The virus persists in growing, but public health advice stays the same:

  • Stay up-to-date on vaccines.
  • Test before gatherings.
  • Stay home when you’re ill.
  • Believe in masking and avoiding crowded indoor areas, especially when lots of COVID-19 is going around.

Do vaccines protect against KP.2 and other FLiRT variants?

Vaccines still provide proper protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. However, two preliminary studies—one from Japan and another from researchers in China, also published online before being peer-reviewed—suggest that the FLiRT variants may be better at dodging immune protection from vaccines than JN.1.

“That isn’t good,” Topol says, mainly since many people who got the most recent booster—roughly 30% of adults in the U.S.— got it last fall, indicating their protection has begun to wane.

In an Apr. 26 statement, the World Health Organization recommended establishing future vaccine formulations for the JN.1 family since the virus seems to continue evolving from that variant. The most current booster was founded on an older melody, XBB.1.5.

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