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University Of Tokyo Study Reveals Concerning Traits Of SARS-CoV-2 JN.1 Variant

The JN.1 variant, known for its distinctive genetic makeup and increased infectivity, has triggered widespread concern. With over 30 spike protein mutations, including the immune-evasive Leu455Ser mutation, JN.1 poses a significant challenge to existing preventative measures

According to the reports in the media, a recent study conducted by researchers from The University of Tokyo has revealed concerning characteristics of the JN.1 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, the findings indicate heightened transmissibility and resistance to immunity, raising urgent concerns for global public health.

The JN.1 variant, known for its distinctive genetic makeup and increased infectivity, has triggered widespread concern. With over 30 spike protein mutations, including the immune-evasive Leu455Ser mutation, JN.1 poses a significant challenge to existing preventative measures. Genomic surveillance data from France, the UK, and Spain provided novel insights into the virological properties of JN.1, revealing a reproductive number surpassing that of other variants in the studied countries, indicating its potential to become the dominant lineage globally.

Reportedly by  November 2023, JN.1 had surpassed the HK.3 variant in both France and Spain, signaling a notable shift in the SARS-CoV-2 variant landscape. Notably, JN.1 not only spreads rapidly but also exhibits resistance to immunity, posing a significant challenge to public health efforts. While initial experiments on rodent models showed effective neutralization of both BA.2.86 and JN.1 variants, breakthrough infections in humans demonstrated JN.1's resilience to neutralization compared to BA.2.86. Of particular concern is JN.1's strong resistance to the XBB.1.5 vaccine, making it one of the most immune-evading variants identified to date.

Professor Kei Sato from The University of Tokyo emphasised the importance of understanding the risks associated with the SARS-CoV-2 JN.1 variant, including its potential to precipitate epidemic surges worldwide. The study outlines the critical need for ongoing surveillance and comprehension of the evolving landscape of SARS-CoV-2 variants to inform effective public health responses.



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