New Covid variant EG.5: Symptoms to transmissibility; 7 things to know about Omicron subvariant Eris
The EG. 5 or Eris, which is more prevalent globally, is connected to the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.9.2. All you want to know about the new Covid variant.
Covid variant EG.5 which is also unofficially known as Eris has been declared by WHO a variant of interest and the organization has asked countries to monitor the cases. Eris has been spreading fast in UK and is adding to the number of infections. Experts, however, say there's no need to worry as the cases are largely mild and while hospitalisation cases in elderly have slightly increase, they remain lower than earlier waves. As per WHO, Eris has been found in 51 countries, including China, the US, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, the UK, France, Portugal and Spain. The symptoms of the new Covid variant Eris are reported to be running nose, sneezing, cough, fever, fatigue among others. (Also read: New Covid variant Eris detected in Maharashtra; should India be worried? What experts say)
"The World Health Organization has identified a new strain of Covid-19 as a noteworthy variation, despite the little risk to the general public's health. The EG. 5 or ‘Eris’ version, which is more prevalent globally, is connected to the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.9.2. Despite EG.5's higher prevalence, growth advantage, and immune escape traits, no changes in disease severity have been noted yet. As per availability of suggested data, there is currently no reason to believe that this wave will be worse than past waves this year, but it will likely result in a wave of more cases and all the complications that brings, including more hospitalizations and Long Covid," says Dr Vidya S Nair, Sr. Consultant & HOD- Pulmonology at Marengo Asia Hospitals, Faridabad.
Dr Ather Pasha, Senior consultant Internal Medicine, CARE Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad shares 7 things you want to know about Covid's new variant Eris.
7 facts about EG.5 or Eris
1. Omicron's sub-variant
Eris is a subvariant of the Omicron variant, specifically XBB.1.9.2. It was first identified in China in February 2023 and has since spread to over 50 countries.
2. Transmissibility higher?
Eris is thought to be more transmissible than previous Omicron subvariants, but it is not clear if it is more severe. Early studies suggest that Eris may cause more hospitalizations than previous Omicron subvariants, but more research is needed to confirm this.
3. Eris evades immunity gained by infection or vaccination
Eris appears to be able to evade some of the antibodies produced by previous COVID-19 infections and vaccinations. This means that people who have been previously infected or vaccinated may still be at risk of getting sick with Eris.
4. Signs and symptoms of Eris
The symptoms of Eris are similar to those of other COVID-19 variants, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, and sore throat. Some people with Eris may also experience a loss of taste or smell.
5. Treatment for Eris
There is no specific treatment for Eris. Treatment is supportive and includes rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary.
6. Ways to prevent Eris
The best way to protect yourself from Eris is to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. Vaccination and boosters help to protect you from getting sick, even if you do get infected.
7. Covid-appropriate behaviour
You can also protect yourself from Eris by wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands frequently.
"Since vaccination is still the strongest defense against upcoming Covid-19 waves, it is crucial that everyone get all of the doses for which they are qualified as soon as possible. In India, presence of herd immunity also is going to be an added advantage as we have seen multiple waves of the Omicron variants. Long-term illness in anyone who has the infection is always a concern, as is severe disease in older adults and people with underlying problems. Therefore, every precaution should be taken (including avoiding crowded areas, wearing appropriate masking, cleaning hands, etc," says Dr Nair.