Evidence of SARS-CoV-2 JN.2.5 variant circulation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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New SARS-CoV-2 variants are continually emerging and have the potential to present challenges to public health responses worldwide. This report discusses the early detection of the lineage JN.2.5 (alias of B.1.1.529. in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The variant was identified in early 2024 through viral whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, revealing that circulating strains present genetic similarities to sequences reported in Canada, Poland, Belgium, and England. While the circulation of diverse Omicron sub lineages has significantly impacted COVID-19 epidemiology in Brazil, the consequences of the circulation of the novel variant are uncertain. Considering its immunological escape capabilities and epidemiological behavior observed elsewhere, close monitoring of this variant epidemiology is recommended.

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