New Coronavirus variants KP.1 and KP.2 confirmed in Nepal

Kathmandu, May 24: New Coronavirus sub-variants KP.1 and KP.2 have been confirmed in Nepal.

The spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and Population, Dr Prakash Budhathoki, has informed that the new sub-variants of Omicron KP.1 and KP.2 have been confirmed after the Genomic sequencing at the National Public Health Laboratory.

Dr Budhathoki said that new sub-variants are not harmful. He said, “New sub-variants of Omicron KP.1 and KP.2 have been found. But as these variants cause normal flu nobody needs to panic.”

According to the laboratory, Genomic sequencing of 42 SARS-CoV-2 positive samples collected in April and May of 2024 representing various age groups and districts. The genomic sequencing detected the Omicron variant in all 42 samples with Omicron (JN.1) in 7 samples, Omicron (BA.2) in 2 samples, Omicron (KP.1) in 12 samples, Omicron (KP.2) in 17 samples Omicron (KP.3) in 1 sample and Omicron (KP.4) in 1 sample respectively.

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants JN.1 and a JN.1 descendant, KP.2, have high prevalence, which accounts for nearly 40% of samples run for sequencing. KP.2 is a member of a group of SARS-CoV-2 variants sometimes called “FLiRT” variants (so named because of the technical names for their mutations: F for L at position 456, and R for T at position 346). Other FLiRT variants, including KP.1.1, have also been identified as circulating, Laboratory mentioned.

As of May 3, the World Health Organisation has classified KP.2 as a variant under monitoring. There are currently no indications, globally or locally, that KP.1 and KP.2 are more transmissible or cause more severe disease than other circulating variants, while there is no indication that the circulating variants are more transmissible or cause more severe disease compared to previous variants, immunity in the population has likely waned over time.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, the FLiRT variants are just the latest in a long line of new variants that have surfaced from SARS-CoV-2. These strains are new to the scene and researchers are still learning more about them. These variants were found in Singapore, America and African continents countries earlier too.

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