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HomeLifestyleCovid JN.1 variant has increased transmissibility and immune escape: Lancet study

Covid JN.1 variant has increased transmissibility and immune escape: Lancet study

NEW DELHI, Feb 12: The JN 1 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus not only spreads easily but also appears to resist immunity, according to a study that emphasizes the urgent need for strategies to address its public health threat.
The emergence of JN.1 has caused global concern due to its distinctive genetic characteristics and increased infectivity. JN.1, which carries more than 30 spike protein mutations, including the characteristic Leu455Ser, exhibits substantial potential for immune evasion.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo, Japan, used genomic surveillance data from France, the United Kingdom and Spain and discovered new findings on the virological properties of JN.1.
The study, published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, sheds light on the potential of the variant to become the dominant lineage and alerts the global health community.
The researchers found that JN.1’s reproductive numbers exceeded those of its counterparts in all three countries studied, suggesting possible global dominance in the near future.
The reproduction number is the expected number of cases generated directly by one case in a population where all individuals are susceptible to infection.
By the end of November 2023, JN.1 had already surpassed the HK.3 variant in both France and Spain, marking a significant change in the landscape of SARS-CoV-2 variants, the researchers said.
Of public health concern is that JN.1 not only spreads easily but also appears to resist immunity, they said.
Initial experiments using blood from rodents infected or vaccinated against BA.2.86 showed that those rodents demonstrated effective neutralization of both BA.2.86 and JN.1, a so-called cross-reactive immune response, the researchers said.
However, when comparing breakthrough infections in people in whom the virus overcomes immunity, JN.1 proved more difficult to neutralize than the BA.2.86 variant, they said.
Particularly notable was the finding that JN.1 strongly resisted the XBB.1.5 vaccine, making it one of the most immune-evading variants discovered so far, according to the researchers.
“Our findings will help people understand the risk of the SARS-CoV-2 JN.1 variant, including its potential to cause epidemic waves around the world,” said Professor Kei Sato of the University of Tokyo.
The study underscores the importance of continued surveillance to monitor and understand the changing landscape of SARS-CoV-2 variants. (PTI)

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