FLiRT (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     10th May 2024        

Context: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that there is an unfamiliar set of COVID-19 variants spreading across the US, which they collectively called FLiRT.


  • About: It is an element of genetic drift, a phenomenon that caused a new variation called KP. 1. 

o Overall, 1 is about 7, and the depression will greatly continue if interventions are not taken. 

o Following CDC findings, these cases constituted as much as 5% of cases in the two-week period.

o Origin: KP.2 and KP1.1 sublineages originate from the JN.1 variant of SARS-CoV-2.

o FLiRT Group Nickname: The variants are dubbed the FLiRT group due to specific spike mutations, where F (Phenylalanine) is replaced by L (Leucine) at position 456 and R (Arginine) is supplanted by T (Threonine) at position 346.

  • Symptoms of FLiRT: This variant closely resemble those of JN.1.

o Fever or chills, persistent cough, sore throat, nasal congestion or runny nose, headache, muscle aches, difficulty breathing, fatigue, new loss of taste or smell, mental fog (feeling less alert and focused), gastrointestinal issues.

  • Transmission: This variant spreads via respiratory droplets of the person to others, or touching infected surfaces such as faucets, furniture, elevator buttons etc.
  • Prevention: It is essential to prevent the infection of this variant, by following Covid-appropriate steps of practicing social distancing, masking, hand sanitising, avoiding public places.