Not very reassuring news is coming from the United States regarding the Coronavirus. There is in fact a new variant, KP.2, found in 24.9% of infections. Which, as American scientists claim, “presents a mutation in the Spike protein (which the virus uses to attach to cells), and the latter does not seem to respond to updated versions of the vaccines”. All this could herald a new wave of infections this summer, in the United States but also in Europe, given the speed with which the variant manages to spread.

The JN.1

The dominant variant globally at present is JN.1, which caused a surge in infections earlier this year. From there he writes Republic, derives a family of variants, nicknamed FLiRT: an acronym between the initials of the mutations, which are better able to escape the immune protection of vaccines than JN.1. The group also includes the KP.2 variant. This does not mean that the WHO is refraining from recommending vaccination, but because the most recent booster was based on an older strain, XBB.1.5, it has recommended basing future formulations on the JN.1 strain.

“Immunity has decreased”

Thomas A. Russo, chief of infectious diseases at the Jacobs School of Medicine at the University at Buffalo, explained: “We have a population in which immunity to the virus has waned, which increases the collective vulnerability to new infections by SarsCoV2. If I look into my crystal ball, I would say that, given the different factors at play with the new mutation, we will probably have a new wave next summer, or at least an increase in cases and hospitalizations.” Epidemiologist Pier Luigi Lopalco went further, explaining that “a new summer wave cannot be ruled out” in Italy as well.

“We keep monitoring”

“In the world, at any time, the SARS-CoV-2 virus tries to spread, and therefore to overcome population immunity by causing the emergence of new variants – explained Lopalco -. If a variant actually appears in any area of ​​the planet and proves very effective, it supplants the previous one. The virus has taken on a more or less seasonal dimension, as happens with normal flu, especially in autumn-winter. Only when a particularly effective variant appears can it turn into a summer “wave”. The epidemiologist concludes by emphasizing that “KP.2, which is currently developing in the United States, could certainly also affect Italy, but in terms of symptoms, I do not think it could have a heavier impact than the seasonal flu: we won't see the full Pronto Rescue. Despite this, we are not stopping surveillance. »

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