Covid-19: will the new JN.1 variant spoil the holidays?

Covid-19: will the new JN.1 variant spoil the holidays?

Are we still going to have to deal with Covid this year during the holidays? Probably, experts say, as the new JN.1 variant, cousin of Omicron, continues to grow in the country. However, the situation is not exceptional, as Dr Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens, reminds us.

Will Covid once again come between the turkey and the tree, spoiling family reunions, like in previous years? This is what we can fear given the figures concerning the new JN.1 variant in recent days.

JN.1, a more contagious variant?

JN.1 is therefore a new variant of Covid, yet another, under the lineage of the Pirola variant (or BA.2.86) which was roaming around Europe at the end of August. However, what characterizes this Pirola variant is that its mutations “moved away from those for which people were immune” explained yesterday to West Europe Philippe Amouyel, epidemiologist and professor of public health. “This is why we think that there is a risk of a new epidemic wave with the JN.1 variant, even if it is really speculation at the moment.

Same precautions taken in the Parisian of December 6, in which Olivier Schwartz, head of the Virus and Immunity unit at the Pasteur Institute, indicated that JN.1appears a little more resistant to neutralizing antibodies than BA.2.86. In other words, it is more resistant to immunity conferred by infection or vaccination.” Enough to actually increase its transmission potential.

In fact, the JN.1 variant “represented 30% of the interpretable sequences in the Flash survey of 11/13/2023, compared to 23% for the previous one” noted on December 6 Public Health Europe. The variant only represented 10% of sequences at the end of October, and 5% a few days earlier. JN.1 is therefore already there.

Protect yourself from winter viruses in general

Should we be worried about Covid? Not necessarily. If the number of cases of Covid-19 linked to JN.1 continues to grow, for Public Health Europe this variant does not present itself “of worrying signal”.

An observation confirmed by Dr. Gérald Kierzek, our medical director: “There is no particular concern to have regarding this JN.1, it is a mutation, as we are beginning to know them and which does not bring any more complications than others.

On the other hand, what can spoil the party for us is more the cocktail of different winter viruses which can accumulate and in this case, in fact, add pressure to hospitals. Colds, flu and Covid are very present and sometimes difficult to distinguish.

“So, overall, the three reflexes to have a merry Christmas are:

  • 1) Respect barrier gestures;
  • 2) Receive a flu vaccine (there’s still time) ;
  • 3) Receive a vaccine against Covid when you are part of vulnerable populations.” advise Dr. Kierzek.