New COVID-19 Variant Evades Vaccines

Health | May 10, 2024, Friday // 12:02|  views


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning regarding a new mutation of the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, known as the FLiRT variants. These variants have emerged from the analysis of sewage samples, indicating a shift in the virus's genetic makeup. During the period from April 14 to 27, one of these variants, named KP.2, has become increasingly prevalent, constituting approximately a quarter of new COVID-19 cases. Surpassing the previous dominant strain, JN.1 variant, which now represents about 22% of cases, according to US health authorities.

Dr. Megan Ranney, the dean of the Yale School of Medicine, has expressed concern over the FLiRT variants, highlighting notable alterations, particularly in the spike protein that facilitates the virus's entry into the body and its pathogenicity. These changes raise concerns among experts, especially as vaccination rates in the United States are declining. As of September 2023, only 22.6% of Americans have received an updated vaccine.

There is growing apprehension that even individuals who have received the latest COVID-19 vaccine may not be adequately protected against the JN.1 variant or the newly emerged FLiRT variants. A preliminary study released by researchers at Harvard University this week suggests a decline in vaccine effectiveness against these strains. However, it's essential to note that this study has yet to undergo peer review.

Regarding symptoms, individuals infected with the FLiRT variant reportedly experience similar manifestations to those observed with the JN.1 strain. These symptoms encompass fever, chills, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion or runny nose, headache, muscle aches, difficulty breathing, and fatigue. Additionally, symptoms such as loss of taste or smell, cognitive impairment ("brain fog"), and gastrointestinal issues like stomach upset, mild diarrhea, or vomiting cannot be discounted.

Physicians emphasize that the severity and presentation of COVID-19 symptoms vary from person to person, with not everyone exhibiting the same symptoms or experiencing them to the same extent.

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Tags: FLiRT, variant, COVID-19, vaccine


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