JN.1 VARIANT (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     19th December 2023        

Context: After the identification of the JN.1 variant in India, the Central government issued an advisory to states.

JN.1 Variant of Covid

  • About: JN.1 is a severely immune-evasive and fast-spreading variant, markedly different from XBB and all other prior versions of this virus.
  • Origin: The sub-variant JN.1 traces its lineage to the BA.2.86 variant, commonly known as Pirola, rather than being an entirely new variant.
  • Early Detection: The first instances of the JN.1 variant were identified in the United States in September. Globally, the initial case was detected as early as January in the same year.
  • Genetic Distinction: While JN.1 shares similarities with Pirola, it only possesses one additional mutation on the spike protein. In contrast, Pirola harbors more than 30 mutations on this crucial protein.
  • Symptoms: There is no evidence to suggest that JN.1 can cause worse symptoms or spread faster than the variants already in circulation.

Significance of Spike Protein Mutations

  • The spike protein mutations in Sars-CoV-2, particularly in Pirola, are of paramount concern to researchers. 
  • These mutations are vital as they impact the virus's ability to attach to receptors on human cells, facilitating its entry into the host cell.