The new coronavirus variant JN.1 is spreading rapidly. Here’s what you need to know.

World Health Organization on Tuesday declared The coronavirus subtype JN.1 is a variant of interest “because of its rapidly increasing prevalence.”

It was about 3 percent of all coronavirus cases in early November, but 27.1 percent worldwide a month later, WHO said. It is expected that the emergence of JN1 may account for the increase in cases, especially in countries that experience winter.

The WHO designation came later Emergency room visits The Washington Post reported last week that cases of Covid-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus in the US have collectively reached their highest level since February, ahead of the holiday season.

Here’s what you need to know about JN1.

JN.1 originated from variant BA.2.86, a derivative of Omicron, a variant of the coronavirus that wreaked havoc in early 2022. JN.1 has an additional spike protein mutation compared to its parent. It was first announced in August.

But WHO does not expect JN.1 to pose a significant additional public health risk based on the available evidence. The overall risk rating of the variant is “Low”.

“While there is a rapid increase in JN.1 infections, and cases are likely to increase, the limited evidence available does not suggest that the associated disease severity is high,” it said.

What are the symptoms of JN.1?

It is not known whether the symptoms of JN.1 are significantly different from other variants, and there is no indication that it is more severe. According to To the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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“The types of symptoms and how severe they are generally depend on a person’s immunity and overall health, rather than which variant is causing the infection,” it said.

Common Covid-19 symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the CDC. .

The CDC recommends getting an updated coronavirus vaccine to increase protection against JN.1. Existing coronavirus tests, treatments and vaccines are expected to work against the variant as well as against others. Vaccines recommended in the US are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax.

JN.1 is registered in 41 countries. According to the World Health Organization, the countries with the largest proportion of JN.1 cases are France, the United States, Singapore, Canada, the United Kingdom and Sweden.

It first appeared in the United States in September and is the fastest-growing variant in the country, the CDC said on Dec. 8.

What is variance of interest?

The WHO designation “Variants of interest” are used for variants of the coronavirus that grow faster than others and have genetic changes that are predicted or known to affect viral properties. These include Prevalence, malignancy, antibody evasion, sensitivity to treatment regimens and diagnosis.

This designation triggers responsibilities for monitoring and collection and sharing of information on WHO and its Member States.

It is less serious than a “variant of concern,” which is used for strains that are more severe, cause a significant burden on the healthcare system, or for which vaccines are less effective. These have Greek letter names such as delta and omicron.

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