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COVID Subvariant JN.1 Case Detected In Kerala


New Delhi: The Covid subvariant JN.1, stemming from BA.2.86, has been identified in certain parts of Kerala, raising concerns about its potential effects. The India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a nationwide network of multiple laboratories and agencies dedicated to sequencing and monitoring new and potentially dangerous Covid-19 variants, conducted surveillance in areas where JN.1 has been detected in Kerala.

Speaking to ANI, Chief of INSACOG, 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,” he added. JN.1 was first identified in the United States in September 2023.

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 possesses the ability to spread more rapidly and evade 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 said that JN.1 has been identified in multiple nations. JN.1 is rapidly gaining prevalence in various Western countries, and given India’s global connectivity through international travel, it should be no exception,” he expressed.

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