Will your last vaccine work againstFLiRT?

The Hill

(NEXSTAR) — There are two new COVID-19 variants circulating, posing a threat to a summer surge.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking the new variants, scientifically known as KP.2 and KP.1.1 since at least the start of 2024.
They’ve been steadily growing in prominence ever since, and have garnered the nickname “FLiRT” because of their mutations.
The latest data shows KP.2 is the dominant strain in the U.S., comprising almost 25% of the tests that have been sequenced.
Both are sublineages of the JN.1 lineage of the Omicron variant, the main COVID variant for roughly three years.
Both FLiRT variants are considered very similar to JN.1, health officials say, with early data suggesting only a couple of changes in their spike proteins.
However, because the FLiRT variants are relatively new, there isn’t enough data to show whether the vaccine or immunity from a recent case of COVID will provide effective protection against them.
“Based on current data there are no indicators that KP.2 would cause more severe illness than other strains.

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A summer surge could be threatened by two newly discovered COVID-19 variants that are circulating (NEXSTAR).

The new variations, referred to as KP in science, have been monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. as well as KP. 1 point since 2024, or at the very least. Since then, their notoriety has increased steadily, and their mutations have earned them the moniker “FLiRT.”.

The most recent data indicates KP. The most common strain in the U.S. is 2. s. , making up nearly 25% of the sequenced tests. KP. By the end of April, 1.1 accounted for approximately 8% of the total. Both belong to the JN’s sublineage. One lineage of the Omicron variant—the predominant COVID variant for about three years—was present.

It is thought that both FLiRT versions are quite similar to JN. According to health officials, preliminary data indicates that there are only a few alterations in their spike proteins.

You may be wondering if the last dose of the vaccine you received is still protecting you, since the virus is predicted to spread as summer approaches. In the end, it is dependent upon the time of your previous dosage.

An upgraded COVID vaccine was made available in the fall. The most recent vaccinations from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax are advised for all individuals six months of age and older by the CDC. An extra dose recommendation for individuals 65 years of age and older was approved by a federal immunization committee vote in February. The CDC states that several doses are necessary for children between the ages of six months and four years.

Previously, health officials have said the COVID vaccines would provide protection from the virus for “several months. The CDC reported in February that although the most recent booster shot, which was made available in September, had proven to be effective up until January, they still anticipated a “decline over time” in protection, as had been observed with earlier doses.

Nonetheless, insufficient data exists to determine whether vaccination or immunity from a recent COVID-19 case will offer effective protection against the FLiRT variants, given their relative novelty.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told TODAY that current laboratory research indicates immunizations and immunity may only offer a limited level of protection. The World Health Organization advised late last month that the JN serve as the foundation for all future COVID vaccine formulations. 1 variety, closely related to the FLiRT offshoots that were the most prevalent in the U.S. s. during the previous several months.

In addition to a decline in COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths, the rate of patients testing positive for the virus at ER visits, and minimal COVID activity in wastewater nationwide, the CDC reported on Thursday.

A CDC representative informs Nexstar that the organization is “working to better understand [KP. along with KP. the potential impact of 1.1] on public health, but also points out that, according to laboratory testing, there are currently “low levels of SARS-CoV-2 transmission overall.”. “.

Consequently, while KP. The spokesperson continued, “SARS-CoV-2 transmission is low, so variant 2, which is proportionally the most prevalent variant, is not contributing to an increase in infections. “As of right now, there are no signs that KP. Compared to other strains, strain 2 would induce a more severe illness. The CDC will keep an eye on the virus’s spread throughout communities and the effectiveness of vaccinations against this strain. “.

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