Drug Discov Ther. 2024;18(1):67-70. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2024.01008)

Evolving immune evasion and transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2: The emergence of JN.1 variant and its global impact

Ou GY, Yang Y, Zhang SJ, Niu SY, Cai QX, Liu YX, Lu HZ


The continuous evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants constitutes a significant impediment to the public health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the SARS-CoV-2 variant JN.1, which has evolved from its progenitor BA.2.86, as a Variant of Interest (VOI) in light of its enhanced immune evasion and transmissibility. The proliferating dissemination of JN.1 globally accentuates its competitive superiority and the potential to instigate fresh surges of infection, notably among cohorts previously infected by antecedent variants. Notably, prevailing evidence does not corroborate an increase in pathogenicity associated with JN.1, and antiviral agents retain their antiviral activity against both BA.2.86 and JN.1. The sustained effectiveness of antiviral agents offers a beacon of hope. Nonetheless, the variant's adeptness at eluding the immunoprotective effects conferred by extant vaccines highlights the imperative for the development of more effective vaccines and therapeutic approaches. Overall, the distinct evolutionary trajectories of BA.2.86 and JN.1 underscore the necessity for ongoing surveillance and scholarly inquiry to elucidate their implications for the pandemic's evolution, which requires the international communities to foster collaboration through the sharing of data, exchange of insights, and collective scientific endeavors.

KEYWORDS: SARS-CoV-2 variants, JN.1, immune evasion, vaccine refinement, global public health

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