COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1

COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1

This article covers ‘Daily Current Affairs’ and the topic details ‘Spread of a new COVID variant’ This topic has relevance in the Science and technology section of the UPSC CSE exam.


GS 3 : Science and Technology


Why in the News?

A new sub-variant JN.1 of COVID has been detected in the country and approximately 200 cases of it have been detected so far by Indian SARS­CoV­2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).


About JN.1

  • It is a sub-variant of Omicron, and it is also known as the Mu variant or B.1.621.It has evolved through some genetic changes from Omicron variant to its current genetic changes.
  • JN.1 is a descendent of BA 2.86 also known as Pirola. Even though JN.1 only has one extra spike protein mutation when compared to Pirola, researchers have been keeping an eye on it because Pirola has more than 30 mutations.
  • JN.1 possesses a single mutation in its spike protein, which might potentially modify some of the virus’s characteristics. However, initial studies suggest that this mutation could offer more immune evasion.
    WHO has classified JN.1 as a separate “variant of interest” because of its rapidly increasing spread. Any virus-associated index (VOI) often identifies specific genetic markers linked to modifications in the virus’s receptor-binding behaviour.


Symptoms of COVID-19 JN.1 variant


  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Runny Nose
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Sneezing

Although right now it is hard to tell whether JN.1 had different symptoms than the other Omicron sub variants or COVID-19 variants. But if someone faces issues of breathlessness then the patient should immediately seek a doctor’s help.


Difference between JN.1 variant and other Omicron variant


1) In Genetic make up

2) When compared to Omicron, JN.1 has a far higher transmissibility rate, meaning it can affect a larger population.

3) It has 1 extra mutation in spike protein than the BA 2.86.


Precautions and treatments of JN.1


The precautions and treatments of JN.1 variant and other COVID-19’s variants are similar in nature. Hence, the difference between both regarding precautions and treatments is minute.




  • Maintain physical distancing.
  • Frequent hand washing.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with handkerchief/tissue while sneezing and coughing.
  • Maintain a safe distance from persons during interaction, especially with those having flu-like symptoms.
  • To sneeze on the inner side of your elbow and not to cough into the palms of your hands.
  • To see a doctor if you feel unwell (fever, difficulty in breathing and coughing). While visiting the doctor, wear a mask/cloth to cover your mouth and nose.
  • Get Vaccinated.




  • Medications
    (a) Antiviral Drugs : RemdeSivir
    (b) Anti-Malaria Medications : Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine
    (C) HIV Drugs : Lopinavir and Ritonavir
  • Convalescent Plasma Therapy : It uses the antibodies of the recovered patients. These recovered patients donate whole blood or plasma, which is then injected into critically ill patients in order to help them fight off the virus by transferring antibodies.
  • While Oxygen therapy only for severe cases.


Tests to detect the JN.1 and other variants of COVID


1)Molecular (RT-PCR) test = RT-PCR stands for Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction. Generally it is used to directly detect the presence of the virus in the given sample. It detects the virus’s RNA and then this RNA is converted to DNA using an enzyme known as reverse transcriptase. The PCR then detects this converted DNA. For sample Throat swab is taken.
2)Rapid Antigen test = Antigen is any foreign matter or protein in the body which triggers an immune response. It is performed outside the laboratory and is generally used to obtain a diagnostic result fast as it takes less time than the molecular tests. For sample Throat swab is taken.
3)Antibody test = It only identifies the antibodies that the immune system produces in reaction to the infection—not the virus itself. It tells whether a patient was previously infected from the virus. For sample minute amount of blood is taken.


Some concerns regarding JN.1 variant

  • More transmissible than other variants which could lead to larger outbreaks
  • One possible concern is that it may be more resistant to vaccines than the other variants of the COVID.
  • Can cause severe illness comparable to other variants. Hence, it has enough potential to harm people suffering from chronic diseases like Hypertension, diabetes etc.
  • If lockdown is ordered again then it will cause severe harm to Human Capital as already acknowledged by the World Bank in its report “Collapse and Recovery: How COVID-19 Eroded Human Capital and What to Do”.


To mitigate the possible threats which can be caused by the upcoming variants of the COVID we need to follow the prevention measures and WHO guidelines regarding COVID-19. A pan India robust monitoring is needed to monitor genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2.


Prelims Question

Q) Which of the following COVID vaccines uses mRNA technology?

Answer – A

Mains Question

Q) How COVID has impacted the culture and human capital? What do you understand by Shadow Pandemic?

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