COVID-19 sub-strain JN.1 detected in elderly woman from Kerala

The 79-year-old woman’s sample returned positive in RT-PCR test on November 18, sources said, adding she had mild symptoms of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) and had recovered from COVID-19

December 16, 2023 12:37 pm | Updated December 17, 2023 11:13 am IST - New Delhi

The JN.1 sub-variant — first identified in Luxembourg — is a descendant of the Pirola variant (BA.2.86). It contains a significant number of unique mutations, particularly in the spike protein, that may contribute to increased infectivity and immune evasion. File

The JN.1 sub-variant — first identified in Luxembourg — is a descendant of the Pirola variant (BA.2.86). It contains a significant number of unique mutations, particularly in the spike protein, that may contribute to increased infectivity and immune evasion. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

A case of COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 was detected from the sample of a 79-year-old woman in Kerala on December 8, official sources said on December 16.

The senior citizen’s sample had returned a positive result in an RT-PCR test taken on November 18, they said, adding that she had mild symptoms of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) and had recovered from COVID-19. More than 90 per cent of the cases in India at present are mild, the sources said.

Previous detection

Earlier, an Indian traveller was also detected with JN.1 sub-variant in Singapore. The person was a native of Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirapalli district and had travelled to Singapore on October 25. No increase in cases was observed in Tiruchirapalli district or other places in Tamil Nadu following the strain being detected in them. “No other case of JN.1 variant has been detected in India,” the source said.

The sub-variant — first identified in Luxembourg — is a descendant of the Pirola variant (BA.2.86). It contains a significant number of unique mutations, particularly in the spike protein, that may contribute to increased infectivity and immune evasion, a source explained.

However, initial data suggests that updated vaccines and treatments will still offer protection against JN.1 sub-strain, the source stated.

This sub-variant’s resemblance to earlier sub-strains with distinct spike proteins is also noteworthy. Most of the changes in JN.1 sub-variant are found in the spike protein, which likely correlates to increases in infectivity and immune evasion.

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