A sub-variant of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus has been classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization due to “its rapidly increasing spread”.

JN.1 has been detected in several countries around the world, including India, China, the United Kingdom and the United States, the BBC reports.

Although the risk to the public is currently low and current vaccines continue to offer protection, the WHO says.

Respiratory viruses such as influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and childhood pneumonia are also on the rise in the northern hemisphere.

It is noted that the virus that causes Covid constantly mutates over time and sometimes this leads to the development of new variants. However, Omicron has remained the world’s dominant variant for some time now.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently monitoring a number of variants of interest linked to Omicron, including JN.1, although it does not consider any of them to be of concern.

Attention is focused on the fact that JN.1 is rapidly spreading to many corners of the world.

It is currently the fastest-growing variant in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accounting for 15-29% of infections.

The UK’s Health Safety Agency says JN.1 currently makes up around 7% of positive Covid tests analyzed in a lab. He said he will continue to monitor all available data on this and other variants.

JN.1 spreads rapidly in all regions, probably because it has an additional mutation in the spike protein compared to the BA.2.86 variant from which it is derived.

“It is expected that this variant may cause an increase in its cases Sars-Cov-2 (coronavirus) amid an increase in infections from other viral and bacterial infections, especially in countries entering the winter season,” the WHO risk assessment said.

There is still limited evidence of how capable she is JN.1 to overcome the immunity provided by vaccines, says the WHO. There are no reports of people becoming more severely ill with this variant than the previous ones.

But more studies are needed to calculate the health impact, the WHO says, as the number of countries reporting data on people admitted to hospital with Covid has fallen dramatically.