New Covid-19 variant reported in India; no severe cases recorded

Pune reported 51 cases and Thane 20 cases of KP.2, first detected globally in January

Representative image
Representative image

NH Digital

There have been 91 cases recorded in Maharashtra of the new Covid-19 Omicron variants, which majorly include KP.1.1 and KP.2 strains. The subvariant KP.2 has outpaced the previously circulating JN.1 variant, and is the major variant in many countries. Pune reported 51 cases and Thane 20 cases of KP.2, first detected globally in January.

By March and April, it had become the dominant strain in the region. However, hospitals haven’t seen serious cases or admissions owing to the new variant. Seven cases each were identified in Amravati and Aurangabad. Solapur had two cases while Ahmednagar, Nashik, Latur and Sangli had one each of the KP.2 variant. None were from Mumbai.

Genome sequencing from March and April showed that Maharashtra has 91 cases of KP.2 — Pune (51), Thane (20), Amravati (7) Aurangabad (7), Solapur (2), Ahmednagar (1), Nashik (1), Latur (1), and Sangli (1).

Currently, KP.2 is the dominant variant in the US. The new set of variants dubbed FLiRT, majorly includes KP.1.1, and KP.2 strains. These are named based on the technical names for their mutations, one of which includes the letters F and L, and another of which includes the letters R and T. KP.2's reproduction number surpasses JN.1. WHO monitors the variants' impact on vaccine immunity and advises close observation for major virus changes. 

Experts have said it would take several weeks to see whether KP.2 might lead to a rise in Covid cases, but the symptoms show the cases to be relatively mild. KP.2 is reportedly better at evading immunity and is slightly more infectious than JN.1 variant. However, those who’ve already had Covid, a reinfection is often as mild or milder than their first case.

The variant spreads easily through respiratory droplets, and people with low immunity should take precautions.

The symptoms of FLiRT variants are similar to that of JN.1. There are symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, coughing, head and body aches, fever, congestion, fatigue and in severe cases, shortness of breath. Many individuals might also have symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Very few are people losing their sense of taste and smell compared to earlier.

While KP.2 is circulating faster, the other FLiRT variant, KP.1.1 variant is not widespread yet. According to the data available in the US, while KP.2 represents 28 per cent of the COVID cases in the US, KP.1.1 cases are 7.1 per cent of the total cases. JN.1, JN.1.7. JN.1.16, JN.1.13.1 variants are widely circulating in the US currently.

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