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Covid-19: WHO Classifies JN.1 As 'Variant Of Interest' - What We Know

The World Health Organization (WHO) assured that the newly discovered JN.1 sub-variant of coronavirus was not likely to pose much threat to public health and also explicitly mentioned that the currently available vaccines would continue to provide protection against the newly discovered Coronavirus strain.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday announced the recently detected JN.1 sub-variant of coronavirus strain as a "variant of interest" amid the sudden surge of Covid-19 cases in countries including India, US, China and Singapore.Earlier, the JN.1 sub-variant was classified as a variant of interest as a part of its parent lineage BA.2.86.

However, the apex global health watchdog also assured that it did not pose much threat to public health and also explicitly mentioned that the currently available vaccines would continue to provide protection against the newly discovered Coronavirus strain.

"Based on the available evidence, the additional global public health risk posed by JN.1 is currently evaluated as low," WHO said.

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What did CDC say?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who claimed that the subvariant JN.1 was first detected in the United States back in September, the sub-variant is accountable for an estimated 15% to 29% of cases in the United States as of December 8. 

CDC also assured that there has been no evidence that JN.1 is capable of heightening risk to public health relative to other currently circulating variants.

All about the JN.1 sub-variant

As per media reports, the latest JN.1 (BA.2.86.1.1) sub-variant came in to existence in late 2023 and is a descendant of the BA.2.86 lineage (Pirola) of SARS COV2. The BA.2.86 lineage, first identified in August 2023, is phylogenetically distinct from the circulating SARS-CoV-2 Omicron XBB lineages, including EG.5.1 and HK.3.

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BA.2.86 strain houses over 30 mutations in the spike protein, which is responsible for making it capable of stronger immune evasion.

However, it has also been told by the experts that more genetic sequencing data is still required to confirm its presence in other countries as well as to ascertain whether it produces symptoms different from other variants.In general, symptoms of Covid-19 tend to be similar across variants.

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