New variant: Corona cases suddenly increase

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There has recently been a slight increase in Sars-CoV-2 infections in Austria. At the same time, the KP.2 subline is spreading more and more.

The coronavirus pandemic may have been declared over, but the virus remains and regularly produces new variants. Most recently, an entire family has appeared to be spreading at breakneck speed: the “FLiRT” group has evolved from the Omikron lineage JN.1, which has been more successful than any Corona variant before in evading the frontline defenses of immunized people.

One variant of this new family outshines all others: KP.2 accounted for around 28.5 percent at the end of May, making it the largest share of cases in the USA. The variant is also on the rise in Austria, as seen from the wastewater monitoring data. Apparently, it is also causing a slight increase in SARS-CoV-2 cases in this country. We want to keep an eye on this, notes virologist Judith Aberle, Professor of Virus Immunology at MedUni Vienna, on Twitter.

“We have not yet finished evaluating calendar week 22, which is why we cannot yet say which variants play a role here,” explains virologist Monika Redlberger-Fritz from MedUni Vienna in an interview with “Heute.” She has not yet encountered the KP.2 variant itself, but the cases evaluated in the previous weeks were all “Pirola” descendants, such as JN.1.

“However, it can be said that there is a clear trend worldwide that KP.2 is slowly and steadily increasing,” says the expert. However, it is not even close to the start of a summer wave. “It’s a very, very small circulation.” However, experts around the world warn that risk groups should remain vigilant.

The current, perhaps conspicuous, number of sick days is not due to the coronavirus but to various circulating viruses. “In most cases, these are rhinoviruses, i.e., classic colds, which is not unusual at this time of year. But parainfluenza is also strongly represented. In the case of adenoviruses, we had a remarkably strong season, which is already on the wane again.”

  • source: heute.at/picture: pixabay.com
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