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COVID: New Covid variant 'Eris' spreading across UK

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said EG.5.1, which has been nicknamed Eris, makes up one in seven new COVID cases, a report said. The latest data suggests it now accounts for 14.6% of cases - the second most prevalent in the UK.

EG.5 was responsible for more than 17% of new coronavirus cases over the past two weeks, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s the highest prevalence of any strain circulating, rising above the so-called “arcturus” variant, which caused nearly 16% of infections.

A new COVID-19 variant, EG.5.1, also known as Eris, is spreading rapidly throughout the United Kingdom. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has disclosed that approximately one in seven COVID-19 cases in the country can now be attributed to the Eris variant.

This variant has become the second most prevalent strain in the UK and has also been detected in Europe, Asia, and North America. In Japan, a "ninth wave" of the virus has begun.

Eris was classified as a variant on July 31 after its prevalence was recorded in the country due to increasing cases internationally, particularly in Asia.

EG.5 is also increasing globally. The World Health Organization last month upgraded EG.5 to a “variant under monitoring,” which is a step below a “variant of concern” – its classification for arcturus. According to WHO, EG.5’s global prevalence nearly doubled from mid-June to mid-July. It’s been documented in 45 countries.


The strain is a descendent of XBB.1.9.2 but with an additional mutation. As of July, WHO reported “no evidence of rising cases and deaths or a change in disease severity associated with EG.5.”

While the exact cause of the recent surge in cases has not been confirmed, health experts suggest that both adverse weather conditions and decreasing immunity may be significant contributing factors. According to Professor Lawrence Young of Warwick University, in an interview with MailOnline, the inclement weather has driven people indoors, leading to increased attendance at venues like cinemas and public events, potentially raising the risk of virus transmission.

COVID-19 case rates continued to increase this week compared to our previous report. 5.4% of 4,396 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. This is compared to 3.7% of 4,403 from the previous report," the UKHSA said in a report.

To protect oneself from this new variant, experts recommend focusing on proper sanitization and maintaining social distance, especially if symptoms develop.

Although specific symptoms related to the Eris variant have not been mentioned in reports, it is believed that the strain might manifest with common flu-like symptoms, similar to those of COVID-19. Staying vigilant and following necessary precautions remains crucial in mitigating the spread of the virus.

It is important to continue following public health guidelines and staying informed about the latest developments in the fight against COVID-19. By working together and staying vigilant, we can help prevent the spread of new variants and protect our communities.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) started tracking the EG.5.1 variant just over two weeks ago when WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said though people are better protected by vaccines and prior infection, countries should not let down their guard.

Health officials hope that the upcoming fall booster campaign will increase protection against the coronavirus ahead of a potential fall and winter wave.

As the UK grapples with the rapid spread of the Eris variant, health authorities, and experts are closely monitoring the situation and advising the public to take necessary precautions to limit its transmission


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