As we all know, the winter season is the season of viral fever and infections. However, the current situation is getting a little complicated as the virus that causes COVID-19 has continued to mutate. The latest mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is named the JN.1 variant, which is known as the close relative of the Omicron strain. On account of the sudden spike in COVID cases caused by the new variant, the World Health Organization has declared this variant a “variant of concern”.
What is the COVID JN.1 variant?
The latest mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the JN.1 strain. This new variant is confirmed as a lineage of BA.2.86, which is a subvariant of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus. While the mutated variants of the Omicron variant are in circulation, the primary stain is not in circulation anymore.
What do we know about the virus to this date?
There is not sufficient data to say anything conclusively, as examinations are still proceeding. As per the World Health Organization, the new variant might not cause more severe respiratory illnesses than the other variants. As per the Centers of Disease Control for Prevention, the symptoms of this variant may also be similar to those of the other variants.
How is the JN.1 variant different from the other coronavirus variants?
The Jn.1 variant is considered to be a sub-variant of the Omicron variant, which indicates that it has undergone certain genetic code changes to form the latest variant. The main difference between the Ba.2.86 variant and the JN.1 variant is that the latter variant has endured one mutation in the spike protein. As per studies, the mutation in spike protein might support the variant’s ability to invade the immune system more quickly. However, the JN.1 variant is more transmissible than the other variants. A smaller exposure to the virus may affect an individual.
What are the symptoms of this variant?
This variant causes respiratory associated symptoms that are closely similar to the symptoms caused by other variants. Individuals who are infected with this variant of coronavirus may experience symptoms, such as high fever, excessive fatigue, headache, muscle ache, difficulty breathing, congestion, runny nose, diarrhea, loss of smell and appetite. However, the severity of the symptoms will depend on a person's immunity.
Who is at more risk of getting infected with this variant?
People of all ages are at risk of getting infected with this new variant. However, certain people are more at risk of getting a severe infection, such as older adults, people with underlying health conditions, and people with weakened immune systems.
Fortunately, there is no news of medical emergencies due to the Jn.1 variant, but there are very few studies on the extreme outcomes of this variant. Therefore, if you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, then do consult with your doctor immediately.