The Centre issued an advisory on 18 December urging states to monitor and report any influenza-like illness amid rising cases of Covid in the country, including the detection of one case of subvariant JN.1. India’s Covid-19 situation remains under control, with an active caseload of 1,828. However, one death was reported in Kerala, where the JN.1 subvariant of the coronavirus was recently detected.
The JN.1 Covid subvariant was first detected in Luxembourg and is a descendant of the Pirola variant (BA.2.86), which itself stems from the Omicron sub-variant. The new Covid variant contains a significant number of unique mutations, particularly in the spike protein, that may contribute to increased infectivity and immune evasion.
Ministry of Health said in a report, “As the Covid-19 virus continues to circulate and its epidemiology behavior gets settled in Indian weather conditions and circulation of other usual pathogens, it is of utmost importance that we maintain a state of constant vigil over the Covid situation, right up to the district levels.”
The states have been asked to monitor and report district-wise influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness cases in all health facilities regularly. In the wake of the surge in respiratory diseases and the new JN.1 Covid sub-variant, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that the virus is evolving and changing and urged the member states to continue with strong surveillance and sequence sharing.
Currently, Karnataka reports 58 active cases, with 11 hospitalized and one Covid-related death, compounded by other comorbidities.
“Ensure a higher number of RT-PCR tests and send the positive samples for genome sequencing to Indian SARS COV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) laboratories to enable timely detection of new variants, if any, in the country,” the Centre told states.