15 May 2024 12:22

Covid-19 FLiRT sub-lineage not found in Russia - regulator

MOSCOW. May 15 (Interfax) - The Covid-19 FLiRT sub-lineage reported by different countries has not been found in Russia, the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) said.

"The FLiRT sub-lineage is a distant relative of the predominant JN.1 strain, while all of them belong to the Omicron variant. [...] None of the FLiRT sub-lineage sequences, including KP.2, have been found on Russian territory to date," the regulator told reporters.

Molecular genetic monitoring indicates that JN.1, a strain of the Omicron variant, is currently the predominant Covid-19 strain in Russia, causing 88% of all cases, Rospotrebnadzor said.

"At the same time, according to the GISAID international database, there has been a surge in infections caused by the new FLiRT KP.2 sub-lineage in various countries since April 22. [...] Preliminary information suggests that KP.2 might become the predominant sub-lineage across the globe," it said.

The share of this sub-lineage is constantly growing in the United States and the United Kingdom, while other countries are seeing a mixed trend. Japanese research cited by Rospotrebnadzor indicates that KP.2 is less infectious than the common JN.1. KR.2 is significantly less contagious (10.5 times) than JN.1. The FLiRT induced symptoms generally include fever, cough, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell, the regulator said.