Experts have issued a warning about a new Covid strain that is spreading across Europe.

The JN.1 strain of coronavirus has been spotted in the UK, as well as in France, Iceland, Portugal and Spain, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said.

The new strain is a descendant of the Pirola variant of the virus, which itself evolved from the Omicron strain.

Scientists are warning the new strain appears to be more transmissible, but hope new vaccines will be able to stop the spread.

Chief of infectious diseases at the University of Buffalo, Thomas Russo told “There is some data that suggest JN.1’s parent BA.2.86 may be more transmissible than previous variants.

“Since JN.1 is a derivative of BA.2.86, there is a concern that it may be more transmissible.

“The updated vaccine is closer to JN.1 than our old vaccine, the hope is that, even if we see more cases with JN.1, the updated vaccine will protect against severe disease."

New Covid variant symptoms

Symptoms of the new JN.1 strain of coronavirus include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

What to do if you have Covid symptoms?

NHS guidance says: "You may be able to look after yourself at home if you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19.

"You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.

"If your child has mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat or mild cough, and they feel well enough, they can go to school or childcare."

What to do if you test postive for Covid?

The NHS gives the following advice to those who have tested positive for Coronavirus.

They recommend you:

  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day the test was taken if you or your child are under 18 years old – children and young people tend to be infectious to other people for less time than adults
  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days after the day you took your test if you are 18 years old or over
  • avoid meeting people who are more likely to get seriously ill from viruses, such as people with a weakened immune system, for 10 days after the day you took your test