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FAQ | New ‘FLiRT’ COVID Variant Reported in India: What Are The Symptoms?

So far 91 cases of the Omicron subvariant have been detected in Maharashtra.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>What do we know about FLiRT COVID variant? (Representational image)</p></div>

What do we know about FLiRT COVID variant? (Representational image)

(Photo: IANS)


91 cases of the new COVID-19 variant, nicknamed FLiRT, have been detected in Maharashtra.

The first cases in the state (and in the country) were reportedly identified in January, and it has since become the dominant variant in Maharashtra.

According to experts the subvariant of Omicron is highly transmissible, overtaking the JN.1 omicron subvariant to become the dominant COVID-19 variant in the US in just weeks.

Here are all your FAQs about the new variant answered.

What do we know about FLiRT?

This new COVID-19 variant, called FLiRT, is a sub-lineage of the Omicron JN.1 lineage. There are two mutation, KP.2 and KP 1.1 that are being classified as FLiRT.

KP.2 is the subvariant that has been detected in Maharashtra.

Is it more infectious than previous COVID variants?

According to the Infectious Diseases Society Of America (IDSA), both mutations of the FLiRT variant, KP 1.1 and KP.2, are both spreading rapidly.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), KP.2 currently accounts for one in four infections in the US.

KP 1.1, on the other hand, currently makes up 75 percent of the COVID cases in the country.

What are the symptoms of this variant?

So far, symptoms associated with FLiRT have been similar to those of other Omicron subvariants. These include,

  • Sore throat

  • Cough

  • Fatigue

  • Nasal congestion

  • Runny nose

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches

  • Fever

  • Gastric issues

Is it more dangerous than other COVID-19 variants?

Like other Omicron variants, FLiRT seems to be mostly causing mild illness, say experts in the US.

According to the US CDC, the severity of illness will depend more on a person’s underlying health and immunity.

In which parts of India has it been detected so far?

So far, between January and April, cases of the variant have been reportedly detected in Pune, Thane, Amravati, Aurangabad, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Latur and Sanglione.

According to the Maharashtra state genome sequencing coordinator, Dr Karyakarte, there hasn’t been a significant increase in serious illness or hospitalisations.

Experts further underscore that knowing what we know about the variant and its pattern, this is not a cause for panic.

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Published: 07 May 2024,12:34 PM IST