New omicron 'FLiRT' variants account for most COVID-19 cases in the US

The new variants are highly contagious, even more so than other omicron variants.
An illustration of the shape and structure of a coronavirus at a microscopic level.
Posted at 8:40 PM, May 06, 2024

Two new omicron subvariants have gained such prevalence in the U.S. that they now account for most of COVID-19 infections in the nation.

According to reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Infectious Diseases Society of America the new Omicron JN.1 subvariants, known as KP.2 and KP.1.1 and nicknamed "FLiRT,” account for 25% and 7.5% of the current COVID cases in the U.S., respectively.

The IDSA says that current data shows that JN.1 is highly effective at evading the immune system, even more so than other omicron variants, which is why is leading to a higher rate of transmission.

"SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is constantly changing and accumulating mutations in its genetic code over time. New variants of SARS-CoV-2 are expected to continue to emerge," the CDC stated. "Some variants will emerge and disappear, while others will emerge and continue to spread and may replace previous variants."

Both the CDC and IDSA say that while "FLiRT" seems to spread more easily, it doesn't seem to make people sicker than other types of the virus, and it shows similar symptoms as past variants.