Does COVID vaccine protect against symptoms of new ‘FLiRT’ variants? | News World

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(NEXSTAR) — There are two new COVID-19 variants circulating, posing a threat to a summer surge.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 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. KP.1.1 makes up about 8% as of the end of April. 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.

With the virus expected to spread as the summer months approach, it may be sparking concerns about whether the last vaccine dose you received is still protecting you. Ultimately, it depends on when you got your last dose.

In the fall, an updated COVID vaccine was released….


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