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JN.1 Covid Variant: A Detailed Analysis by Former AIIMS Director

JN.1 Covid Variant:

Former AIIMS director Randeep Guleria sheds light on the emerging Covid sub-variant, JN.1, providing insights into its characteristics and impact. While acknowledging its increased transmissibility and rapid spread, Guleria emphasizes that the variant, fortunately, does not seem to cause severe infections or lead to heightened hospitalization.

Transmission and Dominance:

Guleria notes that the JN.1 sub-variant is marked by heightened transmissibility, making it a rapidly spreading phenomenon. Across the United States, Europe, and India, there is a discernible increase in cases, suggesting that JN.1 is gradually becoming a dominant variant within the landscape of Covid-19.

Severity of Infections:

Despite its prevalence, Guleria reassures the public by highlighting that the data thus far indicates the sub-variant is not associated with severe infections or a surge in hospitalizations. This distinction between heightened transmissibility and severe outcomes provides a nuanced understanding of JN.1’s impact on public health.

Symptoms and Preventive Measures:

To maintain health and minimize the risk of contracting the JN.1 sub-variant, Dr. Guleria advocates for adhering to Covid-appropriate behavior. This includes regular handwashing, practicing proper cough etiquette (into the armpit or a tissue), and avoiding crowded places, particularly for individuals exhibiting symptoms like fever, cough, and cold. Additionally, he underscores the importance of mask-wearing for individuals with comorbidities and those in the elderly age group.

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Symptomatology of JN.1:

Discussing the symptoms associated with JN.1, Guleria mentions that they predominantly affect the upper airways. Fever, cough, cold, sore throat, running nose, and body aches are among the common indicators, providing individuals with a clearer understanding of what to look for.

Spread of JN.1 in India:

JN.1, classified as a ‘variant of interest’ by the World Health Organization, has made significant inroads in India. The first case was identified in a 79-year-old woman in Kerala, and as of December 21, a total of 22 cases have been reported nationwide. The majority of these cases, 19 to be precise, were traced in Goa, with one case each in Kerala and Maharashtra. Authorities are yet to disclose details of one additional case.


In conclusion, Guleria’s insights offer a comprehensive understanding of the JN.1 sub-variant, addressing its transmissibility, prevalence, and, most importantly, the reassuring observation that it does not seem to induce severe health complications. The emphasis on preventive measures underscores the importance of individual responsibility in mitigating the spread of this evolving COVID variant.

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