JN.1 variant found in Pune wastewater samples

In wastewater samples taken from two testing sites in Pune, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – National Chemical Laboratory, Pune Knowledge Cluster, and other partners have detected residues of JN 1, an interesting variation.

Priyanki Shah of PKC and Dr. Mahesh Dharne of CSIR-NCL have verified that samples from two testing sites in Pune city, which were taken ten days apart, showed the JN 1 variation.

Despite its fast spreading nature, the World Health Organization has designated Covid 19 strain JN 1a as a distinct “variant of interest” and stated that it presents a “low global public health risk”.

Pune has being regularly monitored for SARS CoV-2 by CSIR-NCL, PKC, and other partners by testing wastewater samples that are taken from sewage treatment plants. Wastewater surveillance serves as an early warning that Covid-19 is spreading in a community.

Prof. L S Shashidhara, the founder of the Pune Knowledge Cluster and Director of the National Centre for Biological Sciences, told The Indian Express that while the alert researchers had found the JN 1 variant in wastewater samples, it was crucial to remember that they had not seen the variant reoccurring at the same locations or spreading to other locations.Prof. Shashidhara continued, “At this time, this variant has not been detected in any clinical sample.”However, Prof. Shashidhara stated that the team is sequencing more clinical samples and wastewater in addition to continuing to look for variations of the JN 1 virus.The director of NCBS further stated that this variant has not been found in other cities and that the Pathogen Surveillance Consortium (APSI) is keeping an eye out for new variants in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune.In the meanwhile, even if a person does not exhibit any symptoms, they may still excrete the virus in their feces if they have SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Afterwards, wastewater surveillance can identify the existence of SARS-CoV-2 shed by individuals with and without symptoms thanks to the virus’s detection in wastewater.As a result, wastewater monitoring can act as a precursory alert system for the spread of Covid-19 within a community.Health departments and communities can take prompt action to stop the spread of Covid-19 by heeding the alerts.When contacted, Pune Municipal Corporation Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bhagwan Pawar stated that no JN 1 variant cases have been found in Pune up to this point.But we have released guidelines for identifying influenza-like illnesses and sending samples to be tested for COVID-19. On December 17, a simulated health readiness exercise was also finished, according to Dr. Pawar.

“As per the report there are 11 government run health care facilities, 93 private hospitals and a total of 2442 doctors. There are at least 1482 doctors who have expertise and training about Covid 19 treatment. There are 3844 nurses The drill also showed that there are 1301 isolation beds in the city, 2296 oxygen supported beds, 674 ICU beds and 429 beds with ventilator support. There are 5832 RT-PCR test kits and more than 3 lakh rapid antigen test kits,” Dr Pawar added.