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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

Understanding the Corona Virus JN.1 Variant: A Q&A for Patients

Coronaviruses are a type of virus that can cause infections in the lungs and airways of humans and animals. Sometimes, these viruses can change and form new versions, called variants. Variants can have different features, such as being more easily spread, more severe, or less affected by vaccines and treatments. That is why it is important to keep track of the variants and see how they affect public health and the response to COVID-19.

The JN.1 variant is a new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It was first found in the United States in September 2023. It is similar to another variant, called BA.2.86, which belongs to the omicron family. The JN.1 variant has a change in the part of the virus that attaches to human cells, called the spike protein. This change may make the virus more contagious and more able to escape the immune system. The JN.1 variant is now one of the most common variants in the United States and is also spreading in other countries. The JN.1 variant does not seem to make people more sick or more likely to die than other variants. However, it may contribute to the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that are happening during the winter and the holiday season. The vaccines and treatments that are available for COVID-19 are still expected to work against the JN.1 variant, but new vaccines are being made to improve protection.

What is JN.1?

  • JN.1 is a sub-variant of the Omicron BA.2.86 lineage, previously known as Pirola.

  • It carries mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that enters our cells.

  • These mutations might make it more transmissible and able to evade some immune responses.

Should I be worried?

  • While JN.1's characteristics raise concerns, it's vital to stay informed without panicking.

  • Currently, there's no evidence suggesting JN.1 causes more severe illness or higher hospitalization rates than previous variants.

  • Its main concern lies in its potential for faster spread, particularly among those with waning immunity.

What are the symptoms of JN.1?

  • JN.1 symptoms are similar to other COVID-19 variants, including:

  • Fever

  • Runny nose

  • Sore throat

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Cough

  • Loss of taste or smell

  • Muscle aches

  • Gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea or abdominal pain

How can I protect myself?

  • The good news is, the same effective preventive measures still apply:

  • Vaccination and boosters: Stay up-to-date with recommended vaccinations, including boosters.

  • Masking: Wear a well-fitting mask in crowded or indoor settings,especially if you're at higher risk.

  • Hand hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.

  • Social distancing: Maintain physical distance when possible.

  • Stay home if sick: If you experience any symptoms, isolate yourself and get tested.


  • JN.1 is still under investigation, and researchers are continually gathering data.

  • While precautions are necessary,staying calm and adhering to established COVID-19 prevention measures is crucial.

  • If you have further concerns or questions, consult your doctor for personalized advice.

The JN.1 variant is a new and fast-growing variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It is important to stay informed and follow the advice from health authorities to prevent and control the spread of the virus. Patients should get vaccinated as soon as they can and get their booster shots if they are eligible. They should also wear masks, keep distance from others, avoid crowded and poorly ventilated places, and get tested regularly. If they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, they should stay at home and seek medical help. By doing these things, patients can protect themselves and others from the JN.1 variant and other variants of COVID-19.

Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist

Kify Hospital



Phone : 85000 23456


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