In the wake of the first reported case of the JN.1 variant of COVID-19 in Kerala, the already complex battle against the virus has taken a new turn. This highly contagious sub-variant presents symptoms similar to the original virus, including fever, sore throat and runny nose. While certain groups, such as the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, remain particularly vulnerable, the virus itself does not discriminate, emphasizing the need for ongoing vigilance.
Dr Rupkatha Sen, Chief Intensivist – Critical Care at SRV Hospital – Chembur shared more about the Covid preparedness, adding, “As the festive season approaches, responsible behavior becomes paramount.”
1. Be aware of: Keep yourself updated about the latest developments, especially with the emergence of the JN.1 variant. Knowledge is crucial in making informed decisions to protect yourself and others.
2. Prioritize Early Warnings: Follow basic precautions like social distancing, wearing a mask and maintaining careful hand hygiene. These simple but effective measures remain our first line of defense against viruses.
3. Be aware of the symptoms: Because of the similarities between the JN.1 variant and the original virus, pay close attention to symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and runny nose. Early detection can help in timely intervention.
4. Protect the weak: Recognize that certain groups, such as the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, are more susceptible. Take extra precautions to ensure their safety and well-being.
5. Celebrate responsibly: As the festive season approaches, consider limiting gatherings to small, intimate groups. Ensure proper ventilation in indoor settings to reduce the risk of infection.
6. Embrace Shared Responsibility: Recognize that our actions collectively shape the trajectory of the epidemic. Celebrate responsibly, protect the vulnerable and prioritize public health to contribute to a safe and healthy community.
According to Professor Dr. Dr Rahul Pandit, Chair, Critical Care, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, says, “Whenever a new variant or sub-genus comes out, four questions come to mind.
– First, is it more transmissible than the current variant in circulation?
– Second, is it more serious?
-Third, does it have immune escape? That means, with the immunity we have acquired, will there be immune escape so that even those who have received the vaccine, the so-called immunity, can be re-infected?
– And the fourth is, will it have the ability to escape the test?
Thus, in this current JL.1 variant, there appears to be some spike in protein mutation. And there is a possibility, that it may be a little more transmissible than the current variant. We still don’t have clarity on how much and how fast it will be. The best precaution is a mask, especially in public places.”