Covid, how to recognize the symptoms of the new summer variants

It was to be expected. The time has not yet come to classify the Sars-CoV-2 infection, which causes Covid, as a classic seasonal virus, like the flu, for example. Given the‘extreme variability of the viral strainwhich behaves exactly as one would expect from a pandemic virus, the advance of the variants called Flirt and in particular the most recent of these, KP.3, the spread of the virus shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed, in recent weeks there has been a substantial increase in cases, although not alarming either from an epidemiological point of view or in terms of hospital admissions.
The effect of vaccinations (even though the vaccines were created on the basis of the characteristics of other strains) and the numerous cases of natural infection have in fact created a situation in which particularly serious infections are becoming fewer and fewer. But Sars-CoV-2, with the latest variants, continues to circulate. And it causes symptoms that are best recognized.

A seasonal illness

Although in summer the viral strains that circulate tend to determine above all gastrointestinal and respiratory symptomsas happens for example with adenoviruses, from a symptomatic point of view the infection induced by the Flirt variants and by Kp.3 tend to confirm what was seen only a few months ago.

Generally speaking, remembering that problems tend to have the course of a classic flu with serious discomfort that does not last more than a week, the virus confirms its tropism for the upper respiratory tract. That is, it tends to determine the problems especially in the nose and throatwith nasal congestion and abundant loss of mucus through the nostrils. The involvement of the upper respiratory tract is also demonstrated by the presence of a cough that in some cases appears particularly difficult to control.

The classic general signs of viral infection are not lacking, due to the body’s response which must make an “effort” on the immune front to defend itself as best as possible. In this sense, it is explained the feveroften present precisely to accentuate the efficiency of the defensive response, the heachachethe feeling of weakness and joint painIt should not be forgotten that in many people the infection is completely asymptomatic, therefore it does not cause any problems.

How to cure it

On the front of the therapiesin addition to notifying your doctor who can give specific indications, in general it is necessary to focus above all on treatments that soothe the intensity of the symptoms, promoting a relative well-being. It should be remembered, however, that there are, even for these “summer” forms, subjects at risk which must be monitored with particular attention because they are more exposed to the possibility of developing severe manifestations of the infection. This aspect must always be kept in mind and it is useful to remember that severe forms of the disease can arise more easily in individuals particularly fragile or considered at risk (for example, immunosuppressed patients, people over 65 years of age, pregnant or breastfeeding women, patients with chronic diseases, cancer patients, etc.).

KP.3, what are the features?

KP.3 is just the latest variant of the trio that constitutes the so-called “Flirt” group, composed of KP1.1, KP.2 and KP.3. Observed only recently, in the USA according to data from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) in Atlanta it is already progressively taking over from the previous ones, with their subvariants. And at great speed, after the others have taken the place of their “progenitor” (obviously in viral terms) JN1. While also for KP.3 we speak of variants, in any case, it is believed that about a quarter of new infections in the U.S. are linked to this strain.
What has changed compared to the previous ones? Basically, we need to go over some notions of viral biology that we were used to in recent years. It is essential for the virus to be able to hook onto cells and penetrate inside them, thanks to a specific receptor. This action is ensured by Sars-CoV-2 by the S or Spike protein. This step is essential for viral replication and the appearance of the symptoms of the infection. Three mutations have been observed with KP.3: one is shared with KP.2, and has been called S:V1104L. The other two (original) are S:F456L and S:Q493E.
At the moment it is not known what characteristics they can offer the virus in terms of the ability to infect humans but it is to be thought that they could be “winning”, also considering the speed with which this strain is spreading “invisibly” ousting the previous one, which loses ground in terms of “findings” in the samples that are tested in the laboratories.