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 akin 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 Hospitals – Chembur shares more on COVID preparedness, she adds, “As the festive season approaches, responsible behavior becomes paramount.”
1. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on 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 Basic Precautions: Adhere to foundational precautions, such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and maintaining meticulous hand hygiene. These simple yet effective measures remain our first line of defense against the virus.
3. Be Mindful of Symptoms: Given the similarities between the JN.1 variant and the original virus, pay close attention to symptoms like fever, sore throat, and runny nose. Early detection can help in timely intervention.
4. Protect the Vulnerable: Recognize that certain groups, like 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: With the festive season approaching, consider restricting gatherings to smaller, close-knit groups. Ensure proper ventilation in indoor settings to minimize the risk of transmission.
6. Embrace Shared Responsibility: Acknowledge that our actions collectively shape the trajectory of the pandemic. Celebrate responsibly, protect the vulnerable, and prioritize public health to contribute to a safer and healthier community.
According to Prof. Dr Rahul Pandit, Chair, Critical Care, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, “Whenever a new variant or sub-lineage comes out, there are four questions which come to your mind.
– First is, is it rapidly transmissible than the current variant which is in circulation?
– Second, is it more lethal?
– Third, does it have an immune escape? That means, the immunity which we have acquired, would it have an immune escape phenomenon so that even people who have taken vaccine over, so-called immune, would have an infection again?
– And the fourth one is, would it have an ability to escape testing also?
So, in this current JL.1 variant, it looks like there is some spike in protein mutation. And there is a possibility, that it may be a little bit more transmissible than the current variant. We don’t have clarity yet on how much more and how rapid will that be. The best precaution is masking, especially in public places.”