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Updated December 25th, 2023 at 17:36 IST

Record-Breaking/ JN.1 scare: Why all new variants of COVID are detected in December?

Fast forward four years to December 2023, and while the pandemic has waned, the virus persists, assuming various evolutionary forms.

Isha Bhandari
JN.1 scare: Why all new variants of COVID are detected in December?
JN.1 scare: Why all new variants of COVID are detected in December? | Image:Shutterstock
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New Delhi: Reflecting on the winter of 2019, a time when the world prepared for the customary festivities of welcoming the New Year, few anticipated the seismic shift that awaited. The emergence of a unique virus, initially reported in China, would soon turn lives upside down, ushering in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why always December? 

Fast forward four years to December 2023, and while the pandemic has waned, the virus persists, assuming various evolutionary forms. 

The latest twist in this ongoing narrative is the appearance of a new coronavirus strain—JN.1—capturing global attention.

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Despite being categorized as a "variant of interest" by the World Health Organisation (WHO), JN.1 is deemed to pose a low risk to public health. 

This marks another chapter in the virus's evolution, following notable variants like Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1), and the infamous Omicron (December 2021).

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Interestingly, December seems to be a recurring stage for these variant unveilings, harkening back to the month that initially introduced the novel coronavirus in 2019. As the world grapples with the JN.1 variant, detected in countries such as India, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States, questions arise: Why does December persist as a pivotal month in the evolution of these viral strains?

Unveiling JN. 1: What You Need to Know 

JN.1, part of the BA.2.86 lineage and descendant of the Omicron or B.1.1.529 variant of SARS-CoV-2, has been marked as a ‘variant of interest’ due to its rapid global spread. Detected with an additional mutation in the spike protein, JN.1 raises concerns as health authorities closely monitor its behavior and impact. 

The global community remains vigilant as December once again takes center stage in the ongoing narrative of the COVID, underscoring the cyclical nature of the virus’s evolution and the challenges it continues to pose to public health worldwide. 

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Published December 25th, 2023 at 17:30 IST

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