The new COVID-19 Sub variant JN.1 is spreading concerns among people after its first case was reported in Kerala. Here is all you need to know about it and precautions to take while it's in its nascent stage.
The COVID-19 Sub variant known as JN.1 was first detected in the US in September and was spreading slowly in China. Recently, it travelled to India when its first case was detected in a woman from Karakulam, Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala on 8th December. The JN.1 variant differs from Pirola or BA. 2.86 variant by only a single mutation in its spike protein. Currently, there is no evidence suggesting that this variant is more severe or has higher fatality rates compared to other variants but it is necessary to take precautions to avoid the spread of this virus.
The Union Ministry has ordered the states and union territories to increase the testing and refer a large number of COVID-positive samples, increase surveillance, ensure adequate stock of medicines, oxygen cylinders, concentrators, ventilators and vaccines if needed, undertake mock drills every three months at both the central and state levels to assess the functionality of PSA plants, oxygen concentrators, cylinders and ventilators, raise awareness among people on respiratory hygiene and ensure the dissemination of factually correct information and counter fake news to avoid any panic, share relevant information on cases, tests and positivity in real time on the Covid portal to enable timely monitoring and prompt public health measures.
Here are a few symptoms of COVID-19 JN.1 variant
The symptoms for the sub variant are almost similar to the other variants like runny nose, sore throat, headache, mild gastrointestinal, cough and can also lead to shortness or difficulty of breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting and even Diarrhoea.
Precautions to take
While it is similar to the Omicron strains in terms of high transmissibility and mild symptoms, there is no need to panic as there are no unusual or severe signs of infection but masking up, washing hands with disinfectant regularly, social distancing in public and crowded places and staying vigilant will help in maintaining the needed distance from the virus.
What the authorities have to say
NEW: #COVID19 variant of interest JN.1— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) December 19, 2023
Due to its rapidly increasing spread, WHO is classifying the variant JN.1 as a separate variant of interest (VOI) from the parent lineage BA.2.86. It was previously classified as VOI as part of BA.2.86 sublineages.
Based on the available… pic.twitter.com/lvyd3sq1f7
The World Health Organization (WHO) said “Based on the available evidence, the additional global public health risk posed by JN.1 is currently evaluated as low. Despite this, with the onset of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, JN.1 could increase the burden of respiratory infections in many countries.”
As a precautionary measure, Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao made masks mandatory for those above 60 years of age, as well as people with heart ailments and breathing issues. Maharashtra has subsequently advised its citizens to wear masks as needed and follow COVID-appropriate behaviour.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning regarding JN.1, stating that it may have an increased ability to evade the immune system, leading to concerns about its transmissibility.