New Delhi: In the wake of the identification of a new variant of COVID-19, named ‘JN.1,’ in Kerala, the Union Health Ministry has increased vigilance and readiness measures. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also confirmed the presence of this new variant. Dr. Rajiv Bahl, the Director General of ICMR, shared this information with the public.
The discovery of the JN.1 subtype was made in a COVID-positive sample collected from Karakulam in Thiruvananthapuram on December 8. The individual affected is a 79-year-old resident of Thiruvananthapuram, and her health condition is currently satisfactory.
Highlighting the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Kerala, the Ministry of Health emphasised the need for caution. The Centre has issued advisories, particularly urging vigilance among those arriving from abroad.
The JN.1 subtype is characterised as an immunosuppressive and rapidly spreading virus. It was initially identified in the United States, but it has seen a significant increase in cases in China. However, the majority of new COVID-19 cases associated with this variant have mild symptoms and recover without requiring significant treatment, as per the ICMR.
As of now, Kerala has reported 1,324 positive COVID-19 cases, marking the highest rate in the country. The state also conducts the highest number of tests. 700 to 1000 COVID tests are being administered daily.