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Introducing a New COVID Variant: KP.3 Accounts for 25% of Current COVID Cases

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a new COVID variant, known as KP.3, is rapidly gaining dominance throughout the United States.

During the two-week period from May 26 to June 8, CDC statistics reveal that KP.3 accounted for 25% of COVID cases in the U.S., surpassing the previously dominant JN.1 variant, which had spread globally during the preceding winter. Following closely behind KP.3 is the KP.2 variant, now comprising 22.5% of cases.

To track the prevalence of COVID variants, the CDC employs the Nowcast data tracker, a tool used to estimate current variant prevalence. However, the CDC clarifies that this tool does not predict the future spread of the virus.

Similar to the JN.1 and “FLiRT” variants KP.1.1 and KP.2, the KP.3 variant shares similarities in its genetic makeup.

Despite a significant decline in death and hospitalization rates, the data indicates a rise in positive tests and emergency room visits related to COVID.

As of June 4, the CDC has reported that COVID-19 infections are either increasing or likely increasing in 30 states.

The emergence of the dominant KP.3 variant coincides with an FDA panel meeting convened this week to discuss updates to a COVID vaccine for the upcoming fall season.

During the meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, representatives from vaccine manufacturers Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax indicated their readiness to provide vaccines targeting the JN.1 variant by August, pending FDA approval.

These updated vaccines are slated for release in the fall, in anticipation of potential increases in COVID-19 cases during the winter months.

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