Home Health COVID -19 Subvariant ‘FLiRT’ is Getting Dominant In China. What Can We Know More About It?

COVID -19 Subvariant ‘FLiRT’ is Getting Dominant In China. What Can We Know More About It?

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Canada was almost celebrating its break from COVID – 19 when it got hit back with its subvariant playfully called ‘FLiRT’. 

These genetic cousins which originate from JN. 1, the Omicron subvariant that increased the winter surge are now growing nationwide with one variant, KP.2, swiftly gaining power in Canada. 

KP.2 is the dominant subvariant of the JN.1 strain, was elaborated more by Gerald Evans as an infectious disease expert at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. In the month of April, national data has displayed that KP.2 is responsible for 26.6 percent of all COVID – 19 cases in Canada going beyond other JN.1 sub variants.

“The nomenclature KP.2. really throws people for a loop,” Evans told Global News. “But it’s just a continued evolution of what we’ve been seeing for the last bit of time since the beginning of this year, which is the JN.1 lineage.”

This subvariant alongside KP.1 and KP.3 together make the FLiRT variants according to Evans. 

“FLiRT is a bit of an odd name, and it’s not like one of these names that’s been given by a social media person,” he said, also mentioning that there is scientific meaning behind it.

“They are nicknamed FLiRT mutations because the amino phenylalanine (abbreviated as F) replaces the amino acid leucine (abbreviated as L), while the amino acid arginine (R) is replaced by threonine (T),” he said.

“And the I is just in there to make it sound like a real word. So that’s what FLiRT stands for. It’s just a designation to talk about where the mutations line,” he added.

On Wednesday, it was reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the KP.2 subvariant started spreading worldwide in the month of January. 

“KP.2 is a descendant lineage of JN.1, which is the dominant strain worldwide,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, said during a Wednesday virtual press conference. “KP.2… has additional mutations in the spike protein. There are other emerging variants, and JN.1 continues to evolve; we will continue to see these variants circulating.”

She also mentioned that the WHO is always closely monitoring the virus’s progression. 

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