Covid variant

1. KP.2, an offshoot of Omicron, detected in genomic sequencing, is gradually replacing the JN.1 variant.
2. Maharashtra reports the highest share of KP.2 cases, signaling a slight increase in infections across India.
3. Health officials note that KP.2 primarily induces mild symptoms, offering reassurance amid concerns.

New Delhi, May 20: The emergence of the KP.2 variant of Covid-19, identified in 36 positive cases, has sparked concern among health officials, signaling a potential shift in the viral landscape.

Originating as a derivative of the Omicron strain, KP.2 has rapidly gained prominence, accounting for a significant portion of recent genomic sequencing results and replacing its predecessor, the JN.1 variant, in about 50% of samples.

Despite the uptick in cases associated with KP.2, health authorities emphasize that the variant primarily induces mild symptoms, offering reassurance amidst growing apprehension.

The 36 confirmed KP.2 cases represent a fraction of the 286 reported nationwide, with Maharashtra reporting the highest incidence.

Samples analyzed at the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani, predominantly hail from Kolkata, underscoring the variant’s prevalence in the region.

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Experts attribute KP.2’s emergence to convergent evolution within the FLiRT group of SARS-CoV2 variants, characterizing its ability to evade immunity while causing mild illness.

While concerns about KP.2’s transmission rate persist, state officials downplay the significance of current case numbers, citing only a marginal increase and a limited impact on hospitalizations.

Infectious diseases specialist Yogiraj Ray emphasizes the normalcy of viral strain evolution, urging caution against undue alarm absent a surge in severe infections.

Despite the potential for heightened transmission during election season, testing rates remain low due to the mild nature of KP.2 symptoms.

Immunologist Dipyaman Ganguly echoes the sentiment, asserting that KP.2 has yet to exhibit widespread dissemination or severe disease outcomes, advocating for a measured response rather than immediate alarm.

In summary, while the emergence of the KP.2 variant warrants vigilance, its predominance and impact remain relatively contained, emphasizing the importance of ongoing surveillance and proactive measures to mitigate transmission risks.