New Covid JN.1 Variant Threat | Echoes of COVID Resurgence

icon-blog By -Dr. Kanika Sharma
icon-blog By -December 27, 2023
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All You Need To Know About New JN.1 COVID Variant: How Serious Is It?

Winter is a season when respiratory infections are highly prevalent, but now the situation has just got trickier due to the presence of RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus), Avian influenza, and now JN.1 COVID variant. JN.1 is a sub-variant of SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 is the same virus that was responsible for COVID19 outbreak in the first place. The recent case of JN.1 was reported from Kerala, India. The detection happened during routine surveillance and genome sequencing conducted by INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium).

Previously, 2019 ending marked the introduction of a third highly pathogenic coronavirus, after SARS-CoV (2003) MERS-CoV (2012). The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared a global pandemic in the human population on March 11, 2020. In fact, COVID-19 pandemic has really evolved at an unprecedented rate after it emerged in Wuhan at first, in December 2019.

However, its quick spread never stopped growing around the globe. Today, our world is facing the emergence of the JN.1 COVID variant. The situation is very similar to the ending 2019 scenario when not only activities in various key sectors of the economy were suspended but also the health of the worlds population stood at high risk.

Coronavirus is from the Coronaviridae family, which causes a number of digestive and respiratory infections in humans as well as animals. The shape of the virus particle that bears growths that evoke a crown. It's an invisible threat that concerns the whole world. In December 2019, COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan and caused serious respiratory illnesses. The disease gradually spread around the world until it became pandemic with its resultant health crisis. On March 11, WHO declared this to be a global pandemic.

Furthermore, COVID-19, with its a number of variants, is an entirely novel illness that resulted from viral recombination that happened recently. The major epidemics of earlier centuries have been forgotten by society due to its big impact. Due to this outbreak, government officials and policymakers were compelled to take lockdown measures back in 2020 that impacted environmental conditions, global economic development, human psychology, and the educational system very badly. The abrupt imposition of these health restrictions caused the human budget and the gross domestic product to decline, also affecting the education system, tourism to decline, employee layoffs to occur, and human psychology to deteriorate. Now, the newly detected JN.1 COVID variant may push the world into the same ditch, particularly the elderly population.

Various countries such as Singapore have made an advisory for people to wear masks in crowds as an initial step to stop the spread. Indeed, Karnataka has also recently recommended masks for senior citizens. According to senior health officials in India, there is no plan to recommend vaccination booster dose administration, despite the Union Health Ministry's directive that states remain vigilant and ready for any potential spike in COVID-19 cases following the emergence of the new variant JN.1 of COVID. Lets know more about this virus in this article.

What Is JN.1 COVID Variant?

A new variant of COVID-19, JN.1 COVID is rising to its height in many countries with the approaching peak season of winter illnesses. JN.1, the descendant of Omicron, is on its rise currently.

At first, it spread slowly after being discovered in the United States in September. But in recent weeks, it has contributed to an increasing proportion of test samples sequenced by laboratories connected to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reaching 20% in the two weeks that concluded on December 9. Before December ends, at least half of new infections in the United States are expected to be caused by it, according to some projections.

JN.1 was designated as a variant of interest by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on December 19 in light of its "rapidly increasing spread". However, the organisation has not designated JN.1 as a variant of concern.

How Infectious is the JN.1 COVID Variant?

This variation bears close resemblance to another Omicron descendent that was discovered in the United States this past summer. The CDC claims that aside from a single variation in their spike proteins (the portion of the virus that permits it to enter human cells) the two variations are nearly identical.

According to the CDC, the fact that JN.1 is the cause of an increasing percentage of infections indicates that it is either more contagious or more capable of evading our bodies' immune systems than earlier strains of the virus. However, the CDC notes that while it may increase transmission, there is currently no proof that it causes a more severe form of the disease than other viral strains. Main symptoms are generally the same as that of the previously detected variants such as a sore/scratchy throat, headache, fatigue, congestion, cough, and fever.

Possible Preventive Measures Against JN.1 COVID Variant Outbreak

Social distancing is mainly advised, particularly in the areas that are facing community transmission. A number of countries have now installed quarantine facilities for social/physical distancing measures. This is to promote prevention of the further spread of the virus.

These measures are:

  • Time to time proper handwashing
  • Usage of hand sanitizer
  • Taking a complete bath after returning home

Following are the preventive measures that authorities can take if spread increases:

  • Closure of educational institutions and workplaces fully or partially
  • Limiting the visitors number
  • Minimising the contact between the residents of confined areas (like long-term care facilities, prisons)
  • Prohibition, cancelation and restriction of mass gatherings and meetings not meeting the said criteria of gathering
  • Mandatory quarantine of buildings or residential areas
  • Internal as well as external border cessation
  • Stay-at-home restrictions for entire regions or countries

Are Already Administered Vaccines Effective in Fighting Against this Variant?

According to the Union Health Ministry, the current course of treatment for the new COVID19 variant should also be effective against this variation. Although getting a booster shot is not advised. Doctors may advise targeted vaccination for the elderly and those who may have weakened immune systems. Booster shots will boost immunity.

So far, the signs are positive. COVID-19 tests as well as treatments will probably be effective against JN.1 according to the CDC. And even though the recent COVID-19 booster shot was also designed to target the variants like XBB.1.5. However, vaccines will not block JN.1 infections completely, but may reduce the chances of death and severe disease. In a December 13 statement, COVID-19 vaccine advisory group, WHOs expert, recommended sticking with the current XBB.1.5 vaccination schedule, since they seem to provide cross protection to a certain level.

Every COVID-19 vaccination stimulates our immune systems to identify and assist in defending against the COVID-19 virus. At present, there are two different COVID-19 vaccines: mRNA and protein subunit vaccines. Live viruses are not used in vaccinations. Neither COVID-19 nor any other virus can be contracted through these vaccinations. These vaccinations cannot alter or affect our genes because they do not reach the cell's nucleus, which contains our DNA (genetic material).

  • Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine: This kind of vaccine instructs your cells on how to produce the S protein that is present on the COVID-19 virus's surface. Your muscle cells start producing the S protein fragments and exhibiting them on their surfaces after immunisation. Your body produces antibodies as a result. These antibodies will combat the COVID-19 virus if you subsequently contract it.
  • Protein subunit vaccine: Only the portions of a virus that best stimulate your immune system are included in subunit vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccine of this kind includes safe S proteins. Your immune system produces protective white blood cells and antibodies as soon as it detects the S proteins. The antibodies will combat the COVID-19 virus if you subsequently contract it.

Watch Points for JN.1 COVID Variant Spread

There should be monitoring in the affected area for following:

  • New mutations
  • Case clustering
  • Infection severing
  • Hospitalization data
  • New COVID 19 symptoms
  • Death rate track records

However, experts have said that there might be an increase in the COVID 19 cases but the serious disorders and symptoms associated with the new variant infection are not increasing.


Owing to a potential extra mutation in the virus, JN.1, new COVID19 variant, is rapidly spreading across all regions. The WHO notes limited evidence supporting the notion that this variant can evade immunity conferred by vaccinations. Despite this, health experts emphasize that diligent monitoring by the Indian government and authorities eliminates the need for concern or panic. Some states and districts have issued advisories urging people to stay indoors during the holiday season and emphasize the use of masks in public

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