About SARS-CoV-2 Variant JN.1 tracked by CDC

SARS-CoV-2 Variant JN.1 Being Tracked by CDC.  The new JN.1 is a variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness.  The variant is a closely related to the variant BA.2.86 .  We reported on BA.2.86 in this post “Scientific Findings on the Immunology of BA.2.86”.  Subsequently, The CDC has been tracking BA.2.86  since August. Therefore, JN.1 is currently projected to reach 15-29% of the circulating variants.   JN.1 continues to grow quickly compared with other variants. Its continued growth suggests that it is either more transmissible or better at evading our immune systems.  At this time, there is no evidence that JN.1 presents an increased risk to public health relative to other currently circulating variants, and CDC is closely monitoring COVID-19 activity and JN.1 spread. The increase of this variant does not alter CDC’s COVID-19 recommendations, meaning that vaccines, tests, and treatments continue to work well against JN.1.

What CDC is doing about SARS-CoV-2 Variant JN.1

CDC will continue to track JN.1 and other variants, working closely with partners around the world, to provide the latest information. It’s a great time to get an updated COVID-19 vaccine if you haven’t already had one this fall, since infections are likely to increase in the coming weeks, as they tend to do this time of year regardless of variant.

Respiratory illness activity is rising

COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising quickly. Since the summer, public health officials tracked a rise in multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).  MIS-C results from SARS-CoV-2 infections.  Influenza activity is growing in most parts of the country. RSV activity remains high in many areas. In some parts of the country, hospital beds for children are already nearly as full as they were this time last year. If these trends continue, the situation at the end of this month could again strain emergency departments and hospitals. Strain on the healthcare system could mean that patients with other serious health conditions may face delays in receiving care.

Tracking a SARS-CoV-2 variants

CDC is tracking a SARS-CoV-2 variant called JN.1 and working to better understand its potential impact on public health. This update follows CDC’s most recent variant update on November 27, 2023.

Health Alert Network (HAN) advisory

Covid-19 coronavirus binding to human cell, conceptual computer illustration. SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus

Update to post 12/24/2023

Since this was posted, WHO has updated their advisory on JN.1.  Currently, in the USA, JN.1 now makes up about 44.1% of COVID-19 cases across the country.