What is JN.1, the Fastest Growing New COVID-19 Variant in the US? SARS-CoV-2 Variant JN.1 Could Disrupt Christmas Holiday Plans - Vitrosens Biotechnology - Human and Animal Health Rapid Test Kits

What is JN.1, the Fastest Growing New COVID-19 Variant in the US? SARS-CoV-2 Variant JN.1 Could Disrupt Christmas Holiday Plans

21 December 2023

The holiday season is upon us, bringing warmth, joy, and the familiar strains of Christmas carols. However, this year, as COVID-19 cases surge and a new variant, JN.1, takes center stage, concerns about festive gatherings are looming large. In this detailed blog, we explore the current landscape of rising COVID-19 rates, the characteristics of the JN.1 variant, and crucial steps to take if you or a loved one contracts COVID-19 during the Christmas break.

What is JN.1 the New COVID 19 Variant. JN.1 Could Disrupt Christmas Holiday Plans
What is New COVID-19 Variant JN.1. JN.1 Could Disrupt Christmas Holiday Plans

Understanding JN.1: The Omicron Sub-Lineage

JN.1, a sub-lineage stemming from the “Pirola” variant, has emerged as a focal point of concern in the ongoing battle against COVID-19. Identified by the UK Health Security Agency on December 4, this variant is part of the Omicron family, specifically BA.2.86, known for its distinctive spike protein mutations. Notably, JN.1 has garnered attention for its heightened infectiousness, prompting a closer examination of its impact both in the UK and on the global stage.

Understanding JN.1 The Omicron Sub Lineage
Understanding JN.1, The Omicron Sub-Lineage

First detected in Luxembourg in August, JN.1 has swiftly traversed geographical boundaries, becoming the fastest-growing variant in the UK with a staggering weekly growth advantage of 84%. The mutations within its spike protein are of particular significance, as they not only contribute to increased infectiousness but also raise concerns about the variant’s ability to evade immune responses.

Symptoms of JN.1 Variant

The JN.1 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus exhibits symptoms similar to other strains of COVID-19. Recognizing these symptoms is crucial for early detection and appropriate management. Here are the key symptoms associated with the JN.1 variant:

  1. Persistent Coughing: Individuals infected with JN.1 may experience persistent coughing, a common respiratory symptom observed in COVID-19 cases.
  2. Sore Throat: Reports indicate that JN.1 infections may cause discomfort in the throat, manifesting as a sore throat.
  3. Headache: Headaches are among the symptoms reported in cases associated with the JN.1 variant.
  4. Cold-Like Symptoms: Symptoms resembling a common cold, including a runny or stuffy nose, may be observed in individuals infected with JN.1.
  5. Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Some cases have reported mild gastrointestinal symptoms, such as loose motions (diarrhea).
  6. Mild Breathlessness: Occasional mild breathlessness may be experienced by certain individuals infected with the JN.1 variant.

    Symptoms of the JN.1 Variant
    Symptoms of the JN.1 Variant

It’s essential to note that symptoms can vary widely, and individuals may exhibit different combinations of these signs. If anyone experiences these symptoms, especially in the context of potential exposure to the virus, seeking testing and medical advice is crucial. As the situation evolves, staying informed about the latest developments and adhering to public health guidelines remains paramount in managing the impact of the JN.1 variant.

Risk Groups and Transmission of JN.1 Variant

The JN.1 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is characterized by an increased transmissibility, attributed to specific mutations, particularly in the spike protein. This variant has shown a rapid rise in cases globally, prompting concerns about its transmission dynamics.

Transmission Ways:

  1. Airborne Transmission
  2. Close Contact
  3. Surface Contamination
Transmission of JN.1 Variant
Transmission of JN.1 Variant

Risk Groups:

  1. Vulnerable Populations
  2. Unvaccinated or Partially Vaccinated
  3. Occupational Risks

During the holiday season, vigilance is crucial to prevent super-spreader events. Adhering to preventive measures, including vaccination, mask-wearing, and hand hygiene, becomes paramount, especially for individuals in high-risk groups. As our understanding of JN.1 evolves, ongoing research will guide targeted interventions to mitigate transmission risks.

Current COVID Rates

Recent data, up to the week ending December 9, reveals a 39% increase in COVID cases compared to the previous week. Positivity rates in England rose from 6.4% to 7.5% in the week ending December 14. Experts attribute this reversal to indoor gatherings during the festive period.

Diagnosis technique of the new variant JN.1 with rapid test kits
Diagnosis technique of the new variant JN.1 with rapid test kits

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that JN.1 comprises 20% of new COVID-19 infections and is the fastest-growing strain in the US. The CDC emphasizes the need for updated vaccines and continuous monitoring to understand the variant’s impact on public health.

Vaccine Effectiveness

Despite concerns about JN.1, current vaccines, including booster shots, are expected to remain effective. The latest booster rollout targets the XBB.1.5 Omicron variant, which has demonstrated efficacy against JN.1’s parent, BA.2.86. However, low vaccination rates, especially among high-risk groups, pose a broader concern for public health.

Are the COVID 19 vaccines effective for the new variant JN.1
Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective for the new variant, JN.1

The Latest Situation in Countries

As of the most recent data available, the JN.1 variant of SARS-CoV-2 is demonstrating varying prevalence and spread in different regions:

United States: JN.1 has become the fastest-growing variant in the U.S., comprising over 20% of sequenced samples by December 9, 2023. The CDC projects a continued increase, estimating it to represent 15–29% of SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences.

SARS CoV 2 sequences by new variant JN.1 Dec 18 2023
SARS-CoV-2 sequences by new variant JN.1, Dec 18, 2023SARS-CoV-2 sequences by new variant JN.1, Dec 18, 2023

United Kingdom: Reports suggest that JN.1 is actively spreading in the UK, with a notable presence. The situation is being closely monitored to assess its impact on transmission dynamics and public health.

India: JN.1 has been detected in India, particularly in Kerala, with around 15 cases reported in samples from Goa. Authorities are increasing surveillance and implementing measures to prevent further spread.

7 day rolling average of percent of JN.1 positive sequences
7 day rolling average of percent of JN.1-positive sequences

Europe: Exponential growth of JN.1 has been observed in several European countries, leading to rising hospitalizations. The variant’s prevalence is prompting public health responses and enhanced monitoring.

Australia: JN.1 is growing quickly in Australia, contributing to a wave of infections. Authorities are closely monitoring the situation and implementing measures to curb the spread.

Global: Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared JN.1 a variant of interest due to its rapidly increasing spread. The international community is collaborating to understand and address the global implications of this variant on public health. Ongoing surveillance and research efforts are crucial to assessing the overall impact of JN.1 on the global landscape of COVID-19.

The JN.1 prevalance last 60 days.
The JN.1 prevalance last 60 days.

Holiday Plans and Recommendations

With Christmas around the corner, the rise of JN.1 poses a challenge to holiday plans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:

  1. Vaccination:
    • Updated COVID-19 vaccines are expected to provide increased protection against JN.1, similar to their efficacy against other variants.
  2. Mitigation Measures:
    • Adherence to preventive measures such as mask-wearing, hand hygiene, and social distancing remains crucial in curbing the spread of the variant.

      SARS CoV 2 Variant JN.1 Could Disrupt Christmas Holiday Plans
      SARS-CoV-2 Variant JN.1 Could Disrupt Christmas Holiday Plans
  3. Early Detection:
    • Prompt isolation and testing in the presence of symptoms are essential to prevent further transmission.

Which Tests are Used for the Diagnosis of The New COVID-19 Variant JN.1 in The US?

As the world grapples with rising COVID-19 cases and the emergence of variants like JN.1, the need for accurate and rapid diagnostic tools becomes increasingly crucial. To overcome these challenges, there are different kinds of rapid diagnostic test kits that are effective and easy-to-use.

The SARS-CoV-2 & FLU A/B Antigen Combo Test Kit

In the face of surging COVID-19 cases and the emergence of variants such as JN.1, the demand for accurate and swift diagnostic tools has never been more pressing. To address these challenges, innovative test kits have proven to be indispensable. One such solution is the SARS-CoV-2 & FLU A/B Antigen Combo Test Kit, which utilizes colloidal gold for efficient detection of both Influenza and SARS-CoV-2 antigens in nasopharyngeal and nasal swab specimens.

This easy-to-use and read test not only streamlines the diagnostic process but also caters to the early detection of key variants, including the latest Omicron strain (B.1.1.529). As the global community strives to contain the spread of the virus, these advanced test kits play a pivotal role in enabling rapid and accurate screening, contributing to effective public health responses.

Efficiency and Simplicity: RapidFor™ SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test Kit

In the relentless battle against COVID-19, the RapidFor™ SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test Kit stands as a beacon of efficiency and simplicity. Leveraging colloidal label technology, this kit provides a straightforward yet highly effective method for detecting SARS-CoV-2 antigens in nasopharyngeal, nasal, and oropharyngeal specimens.

Its user-friendly design ensures ease of use and interpretation, eliminating the need for additional laboratory equipment. With variant detection capabilities, including prominent strains like Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Lambda, and Omicron, this kit empowers early phase detection, facilitating proactive measures. Moreover, its easy storage and transport characteristics make it a valuable asset in various healthcare settings. In the pursuit of swift and reliable COVID-19 diagnosis, the RapidFor™ kit emerges as a key player, bridging the gap between efficiency and accessibility.

The SARS-CoV-2 + Flu A/B + RSV Combo Rapid Test Kit, a remarkable 3-in-1 solution, is at the forefront of accurate respiratory disease identification. Designed to differentiate SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A/B, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), this test delivers swift and precise results, enabling early diagnosis for optimal patient care. Its simplicity ensures ease of use, making it a valuable tool for healthcare professionals navigating the dynamic landscape of respiratory illnesses. As respiratory challenges evolve, this test emerges as a beacon of diagnostic excellence, contributing to effective management through early and accurate identification.

The SARS-CoV-2 + FLU A/B + RSV + ADV Combo Rapid Test Kit

In the realm of comprehensive viral detection, the SARS-CoV-2 + FLU A/B + RSV + ADV Combo Rapid Test Kit emerges as a powerful ally. This lateral flow sandwich assay is meticulously designed for the in vitro qualitative detection of the nucleocapsid antigen of SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A/B, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and Adenovirus (ADV) in human nasopharyngeal swab samples. Exclusively intended for professional use, the kit comes equipped with pre-filled buffer tubes, streamlining the testing process. Its easy-to-follow procedure ensures accessibility, and results are available within a mere 15 minutes. With an emphasis on accuracy and rapidity, this 4-in-1 test kit stands as a pivotal tool in the timely and precise identification of multiple respiratory viruses.

The SARS-CoV-2 + Influenza A/B + RSV + Adenovirus + M.pneumoniae Combo Test Kit stands as a beacon in this scenario, offering a comprehensive solution for the simultaneous detection of multiple respiratory pathogens. This rapid chromatographic immunoassay is designed to qualitatively detect antigens associated with SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A and B, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Adenovirus, and M.pneumoniae in nasopharyngeal swab specimens. With its ergonomic design minimizing the risk of contamination, an easy-to-follow procedure, and the promise of accurate and reliable results, this 5-in-1 test provides healthcare professionals with a valuable tool for informed decision-making and efficient patient care.

REFERENCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, December 8). Update on SARS-COV-2 variant JN.1 being tracked by CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/respiratory-viruses/whats-new/SARS-CoV-2-variant-JN.1.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023b, December 14). CDC respiratory virus updates. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/respiratory-viruses/whats-new/index.html

World Health Organization: “Initial Risk Evaluation of BA.2.86 and its sublineages, 21 November 2023.” https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/21112023_ba.2.86_ire.pdf?sfvrsn=8876def1_3

Rajendram Rajnarayanan, PhD, assistant dean of research and associate professor, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro.

Eric J. Topol, MD, professor and executive vice-president, Scripps Research, La Jolla; editor-in-chief, Medscape.

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