ICMR attempting genome sequencing of new JN.1 Covid variant, say officials

ICMR attempting genome sequencing of new JN.1 Covid variant, say officials

ICMR attempting genome sequencing of new JN.1 Covid variant, say officials

According to Union Health Ministry officials on Wednesday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is working on sequencing the genome of the novel JN.1 strain of SARS-CoV-2.

According to NITI Aayog member (health) Dr. V K Paul, 21 cases of COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 have been found nationwide to date. This information was shared on Wednesday.

He stressed the necessity for states to step up testing and fortify their monitoring system while stating that the scientific community in India was attentively examining the new variation.

Officials told the media that one case each in Kerala and Maharashtra and nineteen cases in Goa have been linked to the COVID-19 subvariant JN.1.

16 COVID-19-related deaths in the last two weeks have been reported, and the deceased had significant comorbidities.

Paul noted that roughly 91 to 92 percent of individuals infected are choosing home-based treatment, indicating minor sickness, in the midst of an increase in Covid cases throughout the nation.

There hasn’t been a rise in hospitalisation rates linked to COVID-19.

Hospitalisations are being caused by many medical diseases; COVID-19 is an incidental finding, according to officials.

The JN.1 (BA. variety, which is descended from the SARS-CoV-2 BA.2.86 lineage (Pirola), first appeared in late 2023.

The August 2023-discovered BA.2.86 lineage differs phylogenetically from the circulating SARS-CoV-2 Omicron XBB lineages, such as EG.5.1 and HK.3.

The government stated that BA.2.86 has a strong potential for immune evasion because it carries more than 30 mutations in the spike (5) protein.

Currently, JN.1 is regarded as a variation of interest (VOI) by WHO.

Regarding regional distribution, reports of the JN.1 variant have been made in the USA, China, Singapore, and India. It represents a small but significant portion of the population, estimated to potentially comprise 15–29% of circulating variants in the US.

Whether a JN.1 infection causes different symptoms from other variations is unknown at this time. They said that COVID-19 symptoms are often consistent between variations.

JN.1 does not appear to be causing any increased severity. According to the officials, there is currently no proof that JN.1 poses a greater risk to public health than other varieties that are now in circulation.

RT-PCR is an efficient laboratory technique currently used for JN.1 detection.

The ministry had stated on Monday that the current COVID-19 treatment line is anticipated to be effective against JN.1 infection and that the upgraded COVID-19 vaccines are anticipated to boost protection against JN.1 as they do for other variations.

(With agency inputs)