Cases Of The New COVID-19 Subvariant JN.1 Rise In India

19 December 2023 Coronavirus

New Coronavirus variant JN.1 has emerged, causing heightened concerns among health authorities, experts, and the general public. This new subvariant of COVID-19, JN.1, is a descendant of BA.2.86, and its detection has contributed to a surge in India’s active caseload, reaching 1,828 on Monday. Kerala reported one death associated with the JN.1 subvariant, prompting the central government to issue an advisory urging state governments to strengthen health measures.

JN.1 Covid subvariant was first identified in Luxembourg and is derived from the Pirola variant (BA.2.86), itself derived from the Omicron subvariant. It has a number of unique mutations, especially in the spike protein, which may increase its infectious potential and immune-evading properties.

There are a number of symptoms associated with the JN.1 variant, including fever, runny nose, sore throat, and headache. Fortunately, most patients experience mild upper respiratory symptoms that typically improve within four to five days.

A subvariant of JN.1 has been detected in Kerala, India. A 79-year-old woman tested positive in an RT-PCR test on November 18, exhibiting mild symptoms of influenza-like illness (ILI) and subsequently recovering from Covid-19. Over 90% of Covid cases in India are mild and are managed at home.

In Singapore, an Indian traveler was identified with the JN.1 subvariant. This individual, hailing from Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirapalli district, had traveled to Singapore on October 25.

Rajeev Jayadevan, co-chairman of the National Indian Medical Association Covid Task Force, characterizes JN.1 as a severely immune-evasive and fast-spreading variant. Its ability to infect individuals with prior COVID-19 infections and those vaccinated raises concerns about its potential impact.

The India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), responsible for sequencing and monitoring new COVID-19 variants, conducted surveillance in Kerala.

The Karnataka government has ruled out the need to restrict movement on the border for now, assuring that all precautionary measures have been implemented. Currently, Karnataka reports 58 active cases, with 11 hospitalized and one Covid-related death with additional comorbidities.

It was first detected in September 2023 in the United States, underlining the global nature of the variant and the need for heightened vigilance.

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