A warning has been issued following the detection of a new, potentially “more transmissible” Covid variant in multiple countries.

In an update, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) flagged the emergence of the JN.1 strain of coronavirus, which has recently been found in the UK, US, Iceland, Portugal and Spain.

It has also been “taking off” in France, an expert warned.

CDC officials say they are still “learning” about JN.1, which currently only makes up a fraction of all Covid cases.

However, infectious disease experts have claimed this latest variant could soon become a problem.

According to Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security, JN.1 is a descendant of BA.2.86 – better known as the Pirola variant, which itself came from Omicron.

As reported by Prevention.com , professor and chief of infectious diseases at the University at Buffalo in New York – Thomas Russo – said: “BA.2.86 has more than 20 mutations on the spike protein and there was a concern when it was first detected a while back that, wow, this might be a real problem.”

He explained that JN.1 has an additional mutation on its spike protein from BA.2.86, which is what coronavirus uses to latch onto your cells and make you sick.

So far there have only been 51 cases of JN.1 reported worldwide across 11 countries.

But this could quickly increase, experts have said.

Dr Russo said: “JN.1 has been described in a number of countries, including the U.S., Iceland, Portugal, Spain, and the Netherlands.

“It’s also increasing in frequency in France—it seems to be taking off.”

Due to a mutation on its spike protein JN.1 seems to be “much more immune evasive than its parents,” Dr Russo added, making it “quite devious.”

“As a result, we may be at risk of getting more infections,” he said.

There are also fears that JN.1 could be highly contagious.

“There is some data that suggest JN.1’s parent BA.2.86 may be more transmissible than previous variants,” Dr Russo said.

“Since JN.1 is a derivative of BA.2.86, there is a concern that it may be more transmissible.”

It comes as Express.co.uk reported the emergence of the HV.1 Covid strain, which is also a relative of Omicron.

Symptoms to look for

It is thought the JN.1 strain could cause the same symptoms we’ve seen before with Covid.

William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said: “It’s an Omicron variant and looks to be similar.”

The CDC lists common symptoms as:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea.

If you experience Covid symptoms the NHS advises staying home and avoiding contact with others for five days if possible.

Source: | This article first appeared on Express.co.uk

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