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22 JN.1 COVID variant cases reported in India till Dec 21; all cases have mild symptoms

The detection process involved rigorous whole-genome sequencing of samples, with 62 samples examined in November and an additional 253 in December. This effort aimed to identify and track the spread of the JN.1 variant.

22 JN.1 COVID variant cases reported in India till Dec 21; all cases have mild symptoms AJR
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First Published Dec 22, 2023, 6:09 PM IST

India has encountered a worrisome development in its fight against COVID-19, with the emergence of the JN.1 sub-variant. As of Thursday, the country has identified as many as 22 cases of this variant, with the majority reported from Goa (21 cases) and one case in Kerala. Official sources revealed that the infected individuals experienced mild upper respiratory symptoms, such as dry cough, sore throat, and mild fever, and have all recovered without major complications.

The detection process involved rigorous whole-genome sequencing of samples, with 62 samples examined in November and an additional 253 in December. This effort aimed to identify and track the spread of the JN.1 variant. Despite the rising count of JN.1 cases, nearly 92% of those infected have opted for home-based treatment, indicating mild illness and a relatively lower rate of hospitalization.

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The first case of the JN.1 variant was reported in Kerala, involving a 79-year-old woman who exhibited mild symptoms and subsequently recovered. This discovery prompted health officials to emphasize the need for intensified surveillance and testing. Efforts to monitor Influenza-like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases at the district level were highlighted as pivotal measures for early detection and effective containment.

Although active COVID-19 cases increased by 640 in a single day, resulting in 2,997 active cases, there hasn't been a significant surge in hospital admissions. Regrettably, the death toll rose by one fatality reported in Kerala, tallying the toll to 5,33,328.

The JN.1 variant, an offshoot of the BA.2.86 lineage of SARS COV2, emerged from Luxembourg in August. This discovery has prompted a meticulous monitoring process across India, emphasizing the necessity of stringent testing, heightened surveillance, and proactive control measures to contain any potential outbreaks.

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