Thailand’s new Covid-19 strain, KP.2, spreads faster than JN.1

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Thailand is set to see the KP.2 strain of Covid-19 become the dominant variant, with increased transmissibility and challenges for vaccine efficacy. However, the symptoms will not be more severe than those of previous strains, according to a prominent virologist.

Yong Poovorawan from the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University announced on Facebook that the KP.2 strain is rapidly spreading and replacing JN.1, which has been prevalent in the country since late last year.

“KP.2 does not cause more severe illness but spreads more quickly and is better at avoiding antibodies.”

The virologist explained that current vaccines were developed from the XBB.1.5 strain. The World Health Organisation had recommended new vaccines to address JN.1. However, before these could be developed, the virus mutated into KP.2, reported Bangkok Post.

“Available vaccines for the XBB.1.5 strain were much less effective with JN.1 and KP.2.”

Yong emphasised the difficulty in producing vaccines that match the currently dominant strain of the virus.

In related news, as the number of Covid patients admitted to hospitals with lung infections continues to climb, an expert in preventive medicine, and a doctor from Chulalongkorn University issued a stark warning, predicting that daily infections in Thailand could surpass 18,000 individuals.

Associate Professor Doctor Thira Woratanarat, a faculty member at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, expressed his concerns in a recent Facebook post, urging schools to remain vigilant in the face of this escalating threat.

Dr Thira based his projections on data released by the Public Health Ministry for the previous week (May 12 to May 18), estimating that the virus may currently be infecting between 13,443 and 18,671 individuals daily.

Although he did not delve into the specifics of his methodology, the associate director emphasised the gravity of the situation given the concerning statistics provided.

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Bright Choomanee

With a degree in English from Srinakharinwirot University, Bright specializes in writing engaging content. Her interests vary greatly, including lifestyle, travel, and news. She enjoys watching series with her orange cat, Garfield, in her free time.

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