New Delhi: After a surge in the cases of the new COVID subvariant JN.1, doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have advised people to not panic but rather remain alert and vigilant. “People are getting infected by the new sub-variant of COVID-JN.1 in many states of the country. The symptoms of the patients are mild. Therefore, there is no need to panic but the need to remain alert,” Dr Neeraj Nischal said. Doctor Nischal, who is an Additional Professor in the Department of Medicine at AIIMS Delhi, said,
We have been saying this type of ripple will keep on happening. Even during the first and second waves, we predicted that this virus would mutate further and the stage would come where it would become more infectious but at the same time cause less mortality or morbidity. So this is, you can say, a fight between the viruses in human beings who are also trying to survive. People are becoming infected but at the same time, it’s not causing the problem that its predecessors, like the delta variant, caused.
He further said,
The important thing is that we are more aware of this virus and that we know how to deal with it. So if you see cases increasing, that shows that our surveillance system is in place, and we can pick up any new surge or any new variant that is coming into our society. So this should not be a cause for panic. This only shows how well we are prepared now and I think we should be able to handle this in a good way.
Doctor Neeraj Nischal further said,
From the data that is emerging, the new subvariant is not very different from omicron. We are looking into whether the virus is causing similar types of symptoms like coughing, cold, sneezing, fever, and body aches.
The doctor also stated that the team of health specialists is investigating whether the subvariant is causing serious lung damage, whether it’s causing oxygen requirements, or whether it needs hospitalisation. He added,
There are certain pockets in the country where we are witnessing cases, but that cannot be generalised for the country. So it’s good. We have a good surveillance system in place and we can contain this disease and that’s the most important thing. I will not say that we are seeing an increased number of COVID cases in our OPD it’s not like that. We do witness a lot of common cold and flu patients this season. So this is a generalised type of respiratory infection that happens during the winter so there is nothing new that we are witnessing at the moment. I won’t be saying that we are witnessing an increased number of cases or something serious about patients. No, it’s the routine cases that we see every winter. That’s what we are witnessing now.
Doctor Nischal said that hospitalisation is not increasing, patients are not requiring oxygen, and the mortality rate is not increasing, so there is no need to panic, but this is the time to be alert, and because this disease has been fought earlier also, we are ready because the cases may increase further in the future.
Former AIIMS director and senior pulmonologist, Dr Randeep Guleria said that the new subvariant of COVID is not causing severe infections and hospitalisation. Dr Guleria said,
It is more transmissible, it is spreading more rapidly, and it is gradually becoming a dominant variant. It is causing more infections but the data also suggests that it is not causing severe infections or hospitalisations. Most of the symptoms are predominantly in the upper airways, like fever, cough, cold, sore throat, running nose and body aches.
Earlier in the day, India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) chief Dr NK Arora said that no additional dose of vaccine is needed against the subvariant at present.
Speaking to ANI about the current situation in the country, Dr Arora said, “I would say prevention is required for all those who are 60 years of age or older, who are likely to have comorbidities and those who are on drugs that suppress our immunity, like cancer patients. If they have not taken precaution so far, then they are advised to take precaution; otherwise, there is no need for any additional doses.”
The INSACOG chief asserted that various subvariants of Omicron have been reported but none of them have increased severity.
He reiterated the fact that there is no need for panic but that it requires vigilance. He added,
I would like to assure everybody that we need to be vigilant, but not panicky at all.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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