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COVID-19 Update: No Cause For Panic Over JN.1 Sub-variant, Says INSACOG Chief

On December 16, the first case of JN.1, Covid-19 sub-variant and a descendant of BA.2.86, was detected in Kerala

COVID-19 Update: No Cause For Panic Over JN.1 Sub-variant, Says INSACOG Chief
JN.1, a sub-variant of COVID-19 was first detected in September 2023 in the United States

New Delhi: India’s COVID-19 situation remains under control, with an active caseload of 1,828 as of Monday (December 18). However, one death was reported in Kerala, where the JN.1 subvariant of the coronavirus was recently detected. Dr NK Arora, the chief of INSACOG, a network of genomic laboratories that tracks genomic variants of the virus, said that the death was not caused by the subvariant alone but by multiple underlying health conditions. Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) Chief Dr NK Arora said,

The deceased had severe comorbidities like heart, lung, and kidney diseases. The primary cause of death was attributed to these conditions, not solely to the JN.1 subvariant.

On genome sequencing in other states, he said,

No cause for panic (over JN.1 subvariant). The number of samples is less but these are being collected from all the states.

Dr Arora emphasised that,

INSACOG is closely monitoring the situation, studying the epidemiology and clinical behaviour of the virus.

Earlier on Saturday (December 16), Dr Rajiv Bahl, Director General (DG) of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), stated in a statement issued by the Union Health Ministry that “a case of JN.1 subvariant of COVID-19 has been detected in Kerala as part of the ongoing routine surveillance activity by INSACOG.” He said,

The case was detected in an RT-PCR positive sample from Karakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, on December 8, 2023. The sample was tested RT-PCR-positive on November 18, 2023. The patient had mild symptoms of influenza-like illness (ILI) and has since recovered from COVID-19.

The Union Ministry of Health is in regular touch with the State Department of Health, Kerala and monitors various points of entry.

Also Read: JN.1 COVID Sub-variant Cases On The Rise: What We Know So Far

Earlier on Saturday (December 16), ANI reported first about the Covid-19 subvariant JN.1 detected in Kerala, which is a descendant of BA.2.86.

The India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a network of genomic laboratories, has been actively monitoring the genomic aspects of COVID-19 in India.

JN.1 was first detected in September 2023 in the United States.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Monday (December 18) asked states and union territories to maintain constant vigil amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases and the detection of the first case of the new JN.1 variant in the country. In a letter to states and union territories, Union Health Secretary Sudhansh Pant underlined that “due to consistent and collaborative actions between the Centre and state governments, we have been able to sustain the (COVID-19) trajectory at sustainable low rates”. He said,

However, as the COVID-19 virus continues to circulate and its epidemiology behaviour gets settled with Indian weather conditions and circulation of other usual pathogens, it is important to keep the momentum going to effectively deal with the challenges in public health.

Recently, a few states like Kerala have reported a slight increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, Mr Pant noted.

India’s first case of COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 was detected in Kerala on December 8.

Considering the upcoming festive season, he said, states should put in place requisite public health measures and other arrangements to minimise the risk of transmission of the disease.

States have been urged to ensure effective compliance of the detailed operational guidelines for revised surveillance strategy for COVID-19 as has been shared by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

They have asked to monitor and report district-wise cases of Influenza-like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) in all health facilities on a regular basis for early detection of rising trend of cases.

States were also advised to ensure adequate testing in all districts as per COVID-19 testing guidelines and maintain the recommended share of RT-PCR and antigen tests.

Also Read: Centre’s Guidelines On New COVID-19 Variant Implemented In Madhya Pradesh: Chief Minister Mohan Yadav

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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