FU.1, a new COVID strain that is more contagious and faster spreading than the previous ones, has been detected in many countries and poses a serious risk of another wave of infections.
A s the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, a new strain of the virus has emerged, which experts are warning could be the next significant threat.
The FU.1 variant, also known as XBB.220.127.116.11, has primarily been detected in India and Asia and is a mutant Omicron recombinant. Alarmingly, it is spreading worldwide at a rate 50% faster than the current dominant strain, Arcturus (XBB.1.16).
The FU.1 variant has already made its way to several countries, including the United States, China, Thailand, and the UK. In the U.S., it has been particularly successful in Hawaii and New York.
An Australian surgeon and public health educator has recently tweeted that FU.1 is 50% more infectious than the current dominant strains, raising concerns that another severe wave of COVID infections could be imminent.
“New COVID strain (XBB18.104.22.168 is its former name) has now been christened FU.1 – and not as a joke.
“It is 50% MORE infectious than the current dominant strains, and is just starting to spread worldwide.
“Expect another serious wave any time soon!
“Don’t know how bad FU.1 is yet.”
Recent data from New York highlights the rise of FU.1 against other XBB.1.16 sub-lineages, such as “Kraken” and “Hyperion.”
Given the potential dangers posed by this highly infectious strain, it is crucial to take the threat seriously and adopt the necessary precautions to protect oneself and others, including wearing masks, practising social distancing when needed, and getting vaccinated.
It is also vital for governments and health organisations to act swiftly in containing the spread of this new strain and preventing further outbreaks.
PMP XTRA | How is the FU.1 variant different?
FU.1 is different from other COVID variants in several ways. It has genetic material from both the Omicron and another variant of SARS-CoV-2, making it a mutant Omicron recombinant.
It has 28 unique genetic changes, including four in its spike protein, compared to BA.1, which had already acquired 60 mutations since the ancestral Wuhan strain, including 32 in the spike protein.
It is 50% more transmissible than XBB.1.16, the current dominant strain3. It is one of the sublineages of Omicron that the WHO is monitoring as a variant of concern.
▪ Text: This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 24 June 2023.
▪ Cover: Microsoft Power Bi/Mike Honey. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)