A laboratory at Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi has detected the JN.1 Covid-19 variant in six out of 15 samples. This variant is a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant and is a cause of concern in several countries. While it is highly transmissible, it primarily causes mild symptoms similar to a common cold.
Two passengers at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi tested positive for Covid-19, raising the total number of travelers with the infection to six. The new variant was confirmed in two of these passengers.
The lead investigator at AKUH’s Infectious Disease Research Laboratory, Dr. Imran Nisar, stated that the new variant is not more severe, but there are concerns about its potential to evade the immune system and its increased transmissibility.
In response to the new variant, the National Institute of Health has issued an advisory to provinces, recommending the same preventive strategies such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and proper sanitation and hygiene.
The federal government has also decided to procure 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to prepare for any potential increase in cases. While the vaccines previously administered may provide some immunity against the new variant, they may not be 100% effective.
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