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COVID-19 Subvariant JN.1: Updates from India and the US

India and the United States Monitor Emergence of Covid Subvariant JN.1: Key Updates

A new concern has arisen in the form of a Covid-19 subvariant, named JN.1, with initial detections in Kerala, India, and the United States in September 2023.

This descendant of the Pirola variant (BA.2.86), itself stemming from the Omicron subvariant, has prompted heightened attention from healthcare authorities.

Top 10 Updates on JN.1 Covid Subvariant:

  1. Origin and Lineage: The JN.1 subvariant was first identified in Luxembourg and is genetically linked to the Pirola variant (BA.2.86), tracing its ancestry to the Omicron subvariant.

  2. Active Caseload Surge in India: India recorded a surge in active Covid cases, reaching 1,828, notably following the detection of the JN.1 subvariant, with one reported death in Kerala.

  3. Unique Mutations in Spike Protein: JN.1 exhibits a notable number of unique mutations, particularly in the spike protein, raising concerns about increased infectivity and potential immune evasion.

  4. Symptoms of JN.1: Common symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, and headache. Most patients experience mild upper respiratory symptoms, typically improving within four to five days.

  5. Government Advisory in India: The central government has issued an advisory to state governments, urging them to make necessary health arrangements in response to the rise of the Omicron subvariant, including JN.1.

  6. Case in Singapore: An Indian traveller from Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirapalli district was detected with the JN.1 subvariant in Singapore after travelling on October 25.

  7. Expert Commentary: Rajeev Jayadevan, co-chairman of the National Indian Medical Association Covid Task Force, describes JN.1 as a severely immune-evasive and fast-spreading variant, capable of infecting those with prior Covid infections and vaccinated individuals.

  8. Surveillance by INSACOG: The India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has conducted surveillance where JN.1 has been identified in Kerala, emphasizing the importance of monitoring new threatening Covid-19 variants.

  9. Karnataka's Response: The Karnataka government, reporting 58 active cases, ruled out the need for border restrictions, assuring the public of precautionary measures.

  10. US Detection: In the United States, JN.1 was first detected in September 2023.



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