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Should we be worried about the new COVID variant Eris?

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New covid variant Eris (Photo: Shutterstock)
  • What do we know about the new COVID variant?
  • The new COVID-19 strain EG-5 is also called Eris.
  • Pirola is another variant of concern.

After millions of deaths worldwide, the COVID-19 health emergency has ended, although there is still some cause for alarm.

After detecting a new variant in Mexico, which is being called Eris, the World Health Organization (WHO) has made some recommendations.

While cases have increased, so far this strain does not seem more severe than previous strains.

Eris, officially known as EG.5, began to be monitored as a subvariant of Omicron.

When was Eris discovered?

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According to Yale Medicine, the WHO says the new COVID variant, Eris, was discovered in February of 2023.

Just over four months later, 7.6 percent of the reported global COVID-19 cases were caused by EG.5.

A month later, in July of this year, the percentage rose almost 10 points, reaching 17.4 percent.

In total, 51 countries have reported this new variant, including the USA, Canada, China, and Korea.

Characteristics and spread of Eris

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Perhaps the main feature of Eris is that it evades antibody immunity. The WHO, however, advises not to panic.

«Although EG.5 has shown accelerated growth and escapes the properties that generate immunity, there are no reports warning of severe disease changes.»

The World Health Organization’s statement continues, «Even so, the incidences of EG.5 may increase and become dominant in some countries or globally.»

Symptoms and possible severity

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It is worth noting that this new COVID variant does not cause symptoms that are different from past strains of the disease.

These symptoms include fever, cough, altered sense of smell and taste, fatigue, nasal congestion and sore throat.

The World Health Organization reiterates that with Eris there is a low likelihood of the disease being more severe than previous strains.

It is suggested that older adults, people with asthma and those with a weak immune system monitor their symptoms and take precautions.

Prevention and vaccination

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As with other strains of COVID-19, authorities recommend staying up do date on vaccines to protect against Eris.

They say that the latest versions of the vaccines were designed to combat new variants, such as EG.5.

It is also recommended that people continue wearing masks in crowded indoor spaces, improve ventilation and isolate and test if symptoms appear.

While this new variant is not more dangerous, it is best to continue taking the necessary precautions.

Increase in cases

New covid variant Eris
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According to the UK’s Health Safety Agency, Eris accounts for approximately one in every seven COVID cases.

To make matters worse, cases are also increasing in the US, where they have slightly surpassed other circulating Omicron subvariants.

Epidemiologists believe that this resurgence is mostly due to human behavior, as many have given up on masking and other precautions.

Factors such as high temperatures and travel help spread the virus, and therefore, more people are infected.

Other concerning variants

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Besides Eris, there is another new COVID variant spreading rapidly — Pirola is also known as Ba.2.86.

This variant displays a wide range of changes and has about 30 amino acid modifications in its spike protein.

The name Pirola comes from an asteroid discovered in 1927, according to National Geographic Spain.

To date, the World Health Organization has classified it as «a variant under surveillance».

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