CDC dismisses severity claims of JN.1 variant

The CDC has rejected findings from Ohio State University researchers that the JN.1 coronavirus variant is more severe than previous strains.

While JN.1 currently accounts for almost 86% of current COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the CDC published a statement Jan. 22 saying that the agency has found "no evidence that it causes more severe disease," adding that vaccines are still expected to increase protection against the variant as well.

The Ohio State University research, published Jan. 8 in Cell, had focused on two subvariants: BA.2.86 and JN.1. Their study found that it "appears to have increased infectivity of human lung epithelial cells compared to all omicron variants…(which) raises a potential concern about whether or not this virus is more pathogenic," Shan-Lu Liu, MD, PhD, senior author the study and a virology professor at OSU stated in a news release about the research.  

Since JN.1 is an offspring of BA.2.86, OSU researchers found it had similar results.

While the CDC does not align with this research, the agency did state it "is contributing to the spread of COVID-19 this winter."

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