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Centre Issues Advisory to States Following Detection of JN.1 Sub-Variant and Rising Covid Infections

The JN.1 variant is considered a descendant of the Omicron sub-variant BA.2.86 or Pirola, first detected in the United States in September 2023

New Delhi, EW News:  An alarming rise in Covid infections and the detection of the new coronavirus sub-variant JN.1, the Centre has issued a comprehensive advisory to all states urging immediate public health measures to curb the transmission of the disease. The first case of the JN.1 sub-variant was identified in a 79-year-old woman from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, prompting concerns about its potential spread.

This comes after an earlier case was reported in Singapore, where a traveler from Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirapalli district tested positive for the JN.1 sub-variant. The Centre’s advisory emphasized the need for heightened vigilance, especially with the upcoming festive season.

The advisory stated, “Considering the upcoming festive season, there is a need to put in requisite public health measures and other arrangements to minimize the risk in transmission of the disease by adherence to maintenance of respiratory hygiene.”

States have been directed to actively monitor and report influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness cases on a district-wise basis. The Integrated Health Information Platform is expected to be regularly updated with the latest details, and states are urged to ensure adequate testing in all districts.

The JN.1 variant is considered a descendant of the Omicron sub-variant BA.2.86 or Pirola, first detected in the United States in September 2023. China reported seven infections of the JN.1 sub-variant on December 15, according to a Reuters report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the BA.2.86 sub-variant has a total of 20 mutations on the spike protein, raising concerns due to the role of spike proteins in the virus’s ability to attach to host cells.

Symptoms associated with the JN.1 sub-variant include mild fever, coughing, nasal discomfort, sore throat, runny nose, facial pain or pressure, headache, and gastrointestinal issues.

Experts are particularly concerned about the transmissibility of the JN.1 sub-variant, which has quickly become a dominant strain of Covid. They emphasize the importance of implementing effective preventive measures to curb its spread and protect public health.

The Centre continues to closely monitor the situation and collaborate with states to ensure a coordinated and proactive response to the evolving Covid landscape. Citizens are urged to remain vigilant, adhere to public health guidelines, and get vaccinated to mitigate the impact of the virus.

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