Covid-19: New variant Juno has now been classified as a variant of interest, should we be worried?

Covid-19 cases are still on the rise in the UK, with the latest variant Juno, experts are carefully monitoring its progress.

Covid-19 Juno worried
© Martin Sanchez / Unsplash
Covid-19 Juno worried

Covid-19 is not showing any signs of leaving our daily lives. Indeed, recently a new variant is being monitored by experts for several weeks now. They are tracking its progress to find out whether or not it is a variant worth being concerned over.

Discover our latest podcast

The latest variant is Juno, also known as JN.1, which is presenting new symptoms compared to other variants. The first cases of this variant were reported in France and the US as per The Independent. However, it is now present in the UK.

The new Juno variant has seen an increase in cases over the Christmas period, which isn’t surprising as people tend to socialise more around the holiday period. Is this variant one we should be worried about?

Covid-19 variant Juno is spreading

As reported by The Independent, the JN.1 or ‘Juno’ variant makes up 47.5% of all Covid-19 cases in the UK, with the latest figures suggesting it has now reached 70%.

The JN.1 variant was first tracked as part of the BA.2.86 ‘Pirola’ variant but has now been classified as a subvariant by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is also now considered a ‘variant of interest’ and is a descendant of the Omicron strain.

According to WHO, the Juno variant has a low risk to public health, mainly in ‘well-vaccinated countries’ like the UK. However, this new strain is proving to be more transmissible.

Should we be worried about the Juno variant?

Clare Bryant, a Professor of innate immunity at the University of Cambridge, spoke with Sky News explaining that the Juno variant is more likely to get passed people’s immune systems and replicate faster:

The change in the spike protein will probably correlate to it being more infectious.

However, Professor Nicolas Locker, a virologist at the Pirbright Institute, added that this new variant isn’t showing any signs of ‘increased disease severity’:

I think we're just seeing the natural evolution of COVID and I don't think there's anything right now we should be overly worried about.


These are very small changes in comparison to the ones between Omicron and the previous set of variants. And we haven't seen a change in symptoms or severity.

At the moment, the JN.1 variant is nothing to be overly worried about as it is not a more severe strain, but it can spread quickly.

Read more:

Pirola Covid variant could be more deadly than previous strains, reveals worrying study

Clozapine revealed as Britain's deadliest prescription drug

Coronavirus: is the disease responsible for an autoimmune disorder?

Sources used:

The Independent: ‘Covid JN.1: Everything we know about the new Juno variant’

Sky News: ‘COVID strain classified 'variant of interest' by WHO as cases rise’

Covid-19: Health study reveals worrying statistics on how fast the new variant is spreading Covid-19: Health study reveals worrying statistics on how fast the new variant is spreading