JN.1, an Omicron sub-lineage, is gaining attention globally for its high immune escape ability, potentially out-competing other variants.

The WHO classifies JN.1 as a "variant of interest" (VOI) due to its rapid spread, distinct from the parent lineage BA.2.86

In the United States, the CDC identifies JN.1 as the fastest growing variant, while India has already identified 21 cases of this Covid-19 sub-variant.

Dr. Rajesh Karyakarte, a genome sequencing coordinator, notes an exponential growth advantage, with JN.1 increasing from 3.3% to 27% of cases within a month, citing increased transmission, immune escape, and a prolonged infectious period.

Despite its contagious nature, JN.1's low hospital admission rates suggest it does not cause severe disease. People with prior infection and/or vaccination are considered at low risk, according to experts.

Genome researchers Vinod Scaria and Bani Jolly highlight the continuous evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with JN.1 characterized by an additional spike protein mutation (L455S), giving it a high immune escape property that may surpass its parent strain BA.2.86. A Lancet study supports this, indicating that this mutation alone enables JN.1 to evade immune response faster.