The World Health Organization has designated Covid strain EG.5, or “Eris,” as a variant of interest, and believes it offers a comparable level of worldwide risk as other variants.
Reformulated Covid vaccinations, which are intended to provide superior protection against the variation, will be available in the United States in late September.
The World Health Organization is keeping an eye on a new strain of Covid-19 known as EG.5, or “Eris,” which is responsible for an increasing number of infections in countries like as China and the United States.
The WHO has classified it as a “variant of interest,” which means it will be watched for changes that could make it worse.
Based on current evidence, the WHO believes it poses a modest global public health risk, in line with other variations currently in circulation. The WHO declared Covid-19 to be “an established and ongoing health issue that no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern” in May.
Symptoms and their Spread
Eris symptoms are similar to previous variations, including a fever, cough, sore throat, exhaustion, runny nose, and changes in taste and smell.
“While EG.5 has shown increased prevalence, growth advantage, and immune escape properties, there have been no reported changes in disease severity to date,” the WHO wrote in an Aug, 9 risk assessment.
It went on to say that these characteristics could lead to the variation being prevalent in some nations, if not universally.
The official name of the variant is EG.5, but “Eris” is a random nickname given online that helped popularize the EG.5.1 subvariant.
According to sequencing data given to the Global Initiative for Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) on August 7, the majority of EG.5 cases were detected in China, followed by the United States, South Korea, Japan, and Canada.
It was also discovered in Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, and Spain.
The CDC reports that EG.5 is currently the prevalent strain in the United States, accounting for 17.3% of cases as of the week ending August 5.
It comes as Moderna, Pfizer, and Novavax plan to launch new Covid vaccines targeting XBB strains descended from Omicron this fall.
According to Novavax, the vaccine “induces functional immune responses to XBB subvariants including XBB.1.5, XBB.1.16, and XBB.2.3.”
EG.5 is a descendant strain of a variation with a spike amino acid profile similar to that of XBB.1.5.
“EG.5 is part of the XBB lineage and is more closely related to the XBB variants than it is to previous vaccine strains,” said Justin Lessler, professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, in an email.
“As a result, it is expected that the reformulated vaccines that will be available this fall will provide better protection against EG.5 than previous vaccines.”
According to CDC Director Mandy Cohen, new vaccines will be available in the United States beginning in late September, as responsibility for vaccine distribution moves to the private sector.
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