LB.1 Variant: What You Need to Know about the Summer COVID Wave Surge

Atlanta, Georgia – The latest COVID-19 variant, LB.1, is causing concern as it contributes to a surge in cases across the United States. Identified as part of the FLiRT variants, experts warn that LB.1 may pose a greater challenge due to its immune evasion capabilities compared to previous variants.

As the summer wave of COVID cases intensifies, emergency room visits and hospitalizations are on the rise, reflecting the impact of LB.1. Despite flying under the radar initially, this variant has been steadily causing issues in the U.S. since late spring, prompting experts to closely monitor its spread and impact.

According to infectious disease specialists, LB.1 is currently the third most prevalent COVID-19 variant in the country, a descendant of the JN.1 variant along with KP.2 and KP.3. Experts emphasize that LB.1 shares similarities with other Omicron variants but exhibits a unique spike protein deletion, potentially affecting its transmissibility and immune evasion properties.

While data suggests that LB.1 may be more infectious than certain variants, experts caution that its prevalence varies across regions, with higher concentrations reported in the East and Southeastern part of the United States. The onset of symptoms linked to LB.1 remains similar to previous COVID-19 variants, with reports of intense sore throats circulating online.

Regarding vaccine protection, experts note that while current vaccines may not provide complete immunity against LB.1 infection, they are effective in reducing severe illness, hospitalizations, and fatalities. Highlighting the importance of vaccination, experts recommend updated COVID-19 vaccines to bolster protection against evolving variants like LB.1.

As the country navigates through the ongoing summer wave, experts advise high-risk individuals to stay updated on vaccinations and consider additional preventive measures. Strategies such as masking in crowded indoor settings and avoiding high-risk environments can help mitigate the spread of LB.1 and protect vulnerable populations.

Looking ahead, experts anticipate the availability of new COVID-19 vaccines tailored to target FLiRT variants like LB.1, offering hope for improved protection against emerging strains. With ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic, vigilance, vaccination, and adherence to preventive measures remain crucial in controlling the spread of COVID-19 variants like LB.1.