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CORONAVIRUS/Existing tests, treatments effective for new COVID-19 variant KP.2: CDC

05/07/2024 10:30 PM
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Medical professionals administer PCR tests in this CNA file photo
Medical professionals administer PCR tests in this CNA file photo

Taipei, May 7 (CNA) The existing tests and medical treatments remain effective for a new COVID-19 variant known as KP.2 or FLiRT, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Tuesday.

The current rapid screening and PCR testing tools can still detect the virus, while the XBB.1.5 vaccine and medications such as Paxlovid continue to be effective, CDC spokesperson Tseng Shu-hui (曾淑慧) said at a press briefing.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on May 3 listed KP.2 as a variant under monitoring due to its rising prevalence.

Currently, KP.2 accounts for approximately 11.4 percent of global COVID-19 cases, Tseng said.

According to the CDC, the predominant variant detected both domestically and from abroad over the past four weeks in Taiwan remained JN.1, which accounted for over 95 percent of cases. It was followed by the BA.2.86 variant.

The transmissibility (ability to infect) of KP.2 is 1.2 times that of the JN.1 variant, while the pathogenicity, or ability to cause disease, is slightly lower, Tseng said, adding that its impact remains to be evaluated.

CDC data showed that the first imported KP.2 case in Taiwan was detected at the end of March. Since then, the number of imported cases has risen to six, while four domestic cases have also been recorded since early April.

Meanwhile, from April 30 to May 6, there were 229 new confirmed local cases of COVID-19 and 31 deaths, both of which were higher compared to the previous week, according to the CDC.

(By Tseng Yi-ning and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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