According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 subvariant JN.1 accounted for 39 to 50% of cases in the United States on December 23.
This is an increase from the estimated 15% to 29% of cases in the United States that the CDC had predicted on December 8.
The CDC stated that the variant continues to cause a rising share of infections and is now the most prevalent variant in the country.
The ongoing growth suggests that the variant may be either more transmissible or better able to evade the immune system than other circulating variants, it added.
It is still too early to say whether and to what extent JN.1 will lead to an increase in infections or hospitalizations, said the CDC, adding that existing vaccines, tests, and treatments are still effective against it.
On Tuesday, the World Health Organization classified JN.1 as an „interest variant“ and stated that current findings indicate low public health risk from the strain.
(Reporting by Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)