COVID 19: new JN.1 variant presents new symptom

The JN.1 variant, also known as the “Juno” variant, has become a notable concern in several countries, including France, as of February 2024. It is a sublineage of BA.2.86, colloquially named the Pirola variant, which in turn is a subvariant of Omicron. Since January 2024, Juno has appeared as the predominant strain in mainland France, accounting for 82% of interpretable tests. This rapid growth has led to its classification as a “variant of interest” (VOI). France and Iceland are currently the primary epicentres of this variant’s spread. Despite its prevalence, there’s still much to learn about its transmissibility and virulence.

The infection rate among those exposed to the JN.1 variant is notably increased, with 97% of infected people exhibiting symptoms. Public Health France’s risk analysis emphasises the following symptoms associated with the JN.1 variant:

  • Asthenia (fatigue)
  • Severe headaches
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion or runniness
  • Occasional loss of taste (ageusia) or smell (anosmia)

Furthermore, the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK and observations in France have identified diarrhoea as a new symptom linked with the JN.1 variant as of January 2024. While gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhoea, have been noted with earlier coronavirus variants, this symptom appears to be more prevalent with the JN.1 variant. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that it is not a completely new manifestation of the virus.


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