Covid variant JN.1 in Kerala; symptoms to prevention tips, all you want to know | Health - Hindustan Times
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Covid variant JN.1 in Kerala; symptoms to prevention tips, all you want to know

By, New Delhi
Dec 18, 2023 07:59 PM IST

The new strain of Covid-19 was found in Karakulam, Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala on December 8. All you want to know about JN.1 symptoms and prevention.

After Pirola, its descendant JN.1 is in news post being detected in US, China and now India. The new strain with a single mutation in spike protein compared to Pirola or BA.2.86, was found in Karakulam, Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala on December 8. JN. 1 isn't very different from previous Omicron strains with high transmissibility and mild symptoms, yet preventive measures are important as vulnerable populations may always be at risk. Fever, runny nose, sore throat, gastro are among the symptoms that are being associated with this strain. (Also read: China detects seven cases of new Covid-19 subvariant JN.1. What are the symptoms?)

JN.1 can become the dominating strain of circulating COVID virus unless proactive preventive measures are not followed which are - frequent hand sanitization, usage of Triply mask and social distancing(Pixabay)
JN.1 can become the dominating strain of circulating COVID virus unless proactive preventive measures are not followed which are - frequent hand sanitization, usage of Triply mask and social distancing(Pixabay)

While JN.1 was first detected in USA in September, in China 7 cases were found on December 15 which has led to concern about its spread. Center of Disease Control and Prevention warned that the fresh cases of Covid-19 and influenza may affect America's health care system. The new Covid variant JN.1 is now making up an increasing share of cases, the CDC's tracking shows.

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Covid's JN.1 strain in India

"The JN.1 strain of coronavirus has recently been detected in Kerala. The case was detected in an RT-PCR-positive sample from Karakulam in Thiruvananthapuram district of the southern state on December 8. The 79-year-old woman had mild symptoms of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) and has since recovered from Covid. The sub-variant — first identified in Luxembourg — is a descendant of the Pirola variant (BA.2.86) which itself is a descendant of Omicron sub variant. It contains mutation in the spike protein, that may contribute to increased infectivity and immune evasion. The spike protein plays a crucial role in helping the virus infect people. Because of this, the spike protein is also part of a virus that vaccines target, meaning vaccines should work against JN.1," says Dr Tushar Tayal, Lead Consultant, Internal Medicine, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram.

Symptoms of Covid's JN.1

JN.1 makes up about an estimated 15 per cent to 29 per cent of cases in the United States. Although there is increased infectivity and transmissibility, the symptoms of JN.1 are relatively mild and there is no news of increased hospitalisation.

"The reported symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, headache, cough, and, in some cases, mild gastrointestinal symptoms. Because of its transmissibility, JN.1 can become the dominating strain of circulating COVID virus unless proactive preventive measures are not followed which are - frequent hand sanitization, usage of Triply mask and social distancing," adds Dr Tayal.

"Recently, JN.1, a sub-variant of Omicron has been detected in Kerela. It was first detected in the USA in September this year and since then, it has been reported in many countries. This can infect people who have previous infections and have been vaccinated. This is a fast spreading virus and usually causes symptoms like fever, runny nose, sore throat, headache, and, in some cases, mild gastrointestinal symptoms. Symptoms usually improve in 4-5 days time. Some patients might have breathing difficulty as well. Currently, there is no evidence that this is more severe than any other variant, so there is no need to panic. To prevent the spread on infection, we need to follow all contact precautions like frequent handwashing, wearing mask, maintaining social distance," says Dr Rajneesh Srivastava, Senior Consultant –Internal medicine, Max Hospital Gurugram.

Experts are also warning people to get booster shots apart from the social distancing measures and wearing face masks.

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