After the identification of the JN.1 variant of COVID-19 in India, the Central government issued an advisory to states, emphasizing the need for continuous vigilance. The first case of JN.1 was detected in a positive RT-PCR sample in Karakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, on December 8, 2023.
In response to the escalating concerns around the evolving virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged member states to maintain robust surveillance and share sequencing data. Dr. @mvankerkhove, in a statement on X (formerly Twitter), highlighted the current surge in respiratory diseases and the emergence of the JN.1 subvariant. The WHO continues to evaluate the situation, advising adherence to public health protocols during the holiday season to ensure safety.
As of Monday, active cases of the JN.1 variant in India numbered 1,828, intensifying worries regarding the new strain.
Chief Dr. NK Arora of the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) reassured the public, stating, “There’s no cause for panic over the JN.1 subvariant. Though the sample count is low, it’s being collected nationwide. INSACOG closely monitors the situation, studying the virus’s epidemiology and clinical behavior.”
Arora further explained, “This variant, a subvariant of BA.2.86, was isolated and reported in November. While there are cases of JN.1, vigilant monitoring in India has prevented any hospitalizations or severe diseases so far.”
Initially identified in the United States in September 2023, the JN.1 variant’s appearance in India has raised questions about its potential impact.
Health Minister Veena George addressed the situation, stating, “The detection of the COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 in Kerala shouldn’t cause concern. It’s a known sub-variant previously detected in a few Indians screened at Singapore Airport. Kerala’s identification through genome sequencing doesn’t warrant worry. Continuous monitoring is underway.