Science & Tech

‘JN.1’ a new COVID variant

Following the discovery of the JN.1 COVID-19 strain, Karnataka has urged senior citizens to wear masks.

  • Following the discovery of the JN.1 COVID-19 strain, Karnataka has urged senior citizens to wear masks.
  • JN.1 was discovered in Kerala and in a traveller from Singapore to Tamil Nadu, with other instances discovered in Goa.

Understanding the JN.1 Variant 

  • Lineage: JN.1 is a sub-variant of BA.2.86, commonly known as Pirola, which was discovered in the United States in September and worldwide as early as January.
  • While JN.1 has only one additional mutation on the spike protein compared to Pirola, its large number of spike protein mutations has piqued the interest of academics.

Potential  Impact of JN.1 

  • Transmission and Severity: There is currently no indication that JN.1 produces more severe symptoms or spreads more quickly than other circulating variations.
  • According to the WHO Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition, both Pirola and JN.1 have been efficiently neutralised by serum from infected and vaccinated patients.

Current Concerns and Global Spread

  • Increasing Cases: A global increase in cases caused by Pirola and JN.1 has been observed, notably in the United States, Europe, Singapore, and China.
  • JN.1 accounted for a significant fraction of COVID-19 sequences in the GISAID database, as well as a significant proportion of variations in the United States, according to WHO data.
  • Singapore’s Situation: Singapore recorded a rise in COVID-19 cases, primarily JN.1, with an increase in hospitalisations among the elderly.

Immunisation and Vaccination in India

  • Hospitalisation Risk: According to Singaporean data, persons who had their last COVID-19 vaccination dosage more than a year ago face an increased risk of hospitalisation.
  • Doctors believe that extensive vaccination and exposure to COVID-19 has resulted in significant protection in India, lowering the need for new vaccines.
  • Experts urge typical precautions against respiratory viruses, such as masks in crowded and enclosed settings, staying in well-ventilated areas, and frequent hand washing.
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