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Kerala reports new Covid sub-variant

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  • 17 Dec, 2023

New Delhi, December 16

Kerala on Saturday reported the country’s first case of new Covid sub-variant JN.1 that is more transmissible compared to other variants.

The new sub-variant was detected in an RT-PCR positive sample of a 79-year-old woman from Karakulam in Thiruvananthapuram district on December 8. The sample had tested RT-PCR positive on November 18, he added.

"The patient had mild symptoms of influenza like illness and has since recovered from Covid-19. There has been an increasing trend of Covid-19 cases from Kerala for the last few weeks," the union health ministry said in a statement.

JN.1 variant first detected in the US in September is a descendant of Omicron sub-variant BA.2.86. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said JN.1 could be “more transmissible or better at evading our immune systems”.

Indian Council of Medical Research DG Dr Rajiv Bahl said the sub-variant was detected as part of revised surveillance guidelines under which patients of influenza like illnesses and severe acute respiratory illnesses were being tested for Covid-19 and positive cases referred for whole genome sequencing to INSACOG labs.


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