Covid subvariant JN.1 case detected in Kerala, raises concerns

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Public TV English
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NEW DELHI: The Covid subvariant JN.1, a descendant of BA.2.86, has been detected in parts of Kerala, triggering concerns about its impact.

The India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), which is a multi-laboratory, multi-agency, pan-India network tasked with sequencing and keeping an eye on new threatening Covid-19 variants, has done surveillance where JN.1 has been found in Kerala.

INSACOG chief N K Arora, said, “This variant has been isolated and reported in November; this is a subvariant of BA.2.86. We have some cases of JN.1. India is keeping a vigil and that’s the reason no hospitalisation or severe disease has been reported so far”.

JN.1 was first detected in September 2023 in the United States. According to Rajeev Jayadevan, the National Indian Medical Association Covid Task Force’s co-chairman, “After a seven-month gap, cases are rising in India. In Kerala, there are reports of people getting Covid, but the severity so far appears to be the same as before”.

“Genome sequencing pinpoints what type of virus is circulating in each region. For example, in India, during the April 2023 wave, XBB sublineages were found to cause it. However, the December genome sequencing results are still coming in and early results show that a JN.1 case was found in Kerala”, he added.

Jayadevan said that the JN.1 variant is capable of spreading faster and evading immunity. “JN.1 is a severely immune-evasive and fast-spreading variant, markedly different from XBB and all other prior versions of this virus. This enables it to infect people who had previous Covid infections and also people who were vaccinated”, he said.

Rajeev Jayadevan also noted that JN.1 has been reported in various countries. “JN.1 is rising quickly in several Western countries, and India being connected by international travel with the rest of the world should be no exception,” he said. (ANI)

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