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  • WHO declares JN.1 a COVID 'variant of interest'

    Author: AAP

The World Health Organisation has classified the JN.1 coronavirus variant as a "variant of interest" but says current evidence shows its risk to public health is low.

At least two experts told Reuters that while the variant can evade the immune system and transmit more easily than other circulating variants, it has not shown any signs of more severe disease.

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While there might be more cases with the variant, JN.1 doesn't pose a greater risk, said Andrew Pekosz, a virologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

JN.1 was previously classified a variant of interest as part of its parent lineage BA.2.86, but WHO has classified it as a separate variant of interest.

WHO said current vaccines would continue to protect against severe disease and death from JN.1 and other circulating variants of the COVID-19 virus.


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this month the subvariant JN.1 made up 15 per cent to 29 per cent of cases in the United States as of December 8, according to the agency's latest projections.

The CDC had said there was no evidence JN.1 presented an increased risk to public health relative to other circulating variants and an updated shot could keep Americans protected against the variant.

JN.1 was first detected in the United States in September, according to the CDC.

Last week, China detected seven infections of the COVID subvariant.


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