Amidst the ongoing battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, a new variant named Eris, also known as EG.5.1, has surfaced, sparking global concern.
This particular strain belongs to the lineage of the Omicron variant and was first identified on July 31, 2023. Since then, it has rapidly gained ground in the United Kingdom, becoming the second most prevalent variant, accounting for approximately one in ten Covid cases.
Symptoms of Eris:
Eris shares some common symptoms with its parent Omicron variant. The five most frequently observed symptoms associated with Eris, according to the ZOE Health Study, include a runny nose, headache, varying degrees of fatigue, sneezing, and a sore throat. It is essential to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to Eris and may be seen in other Covid variants as well.
Health experts are alarmed by the rapid spread of Eris, and Professor Christina Pagel, a member of Independent Sage, has expressed concerns about the potential of facing another wave of Covid driven by Eris, coupled with waning immunity and unfavorable weather conditions. As colder weather drives people indoors, the risk of transmission increases, further intensifying the situation.
According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Eris, also referred to as EG.5.1, currently accounts for one in seven new Covid cases in the UK. It was officially classified as a variant on July 31, following its notable prevalence both within the country and internationally, particularly in Asian regions.
Despite its growing significance, Eris is currently categorized as a variant under monitoring by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has not yet been classified as a variant of concern.
In light of this emerging variant, health authorities emphasize the importance of regular handwashing to protect against Covid-19 and other viruses. Additionally, individuals experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness are advised to practice caution and limit contact with others where possible.
While the situation with Eris is being closely monitored, the global community remains vigilant in tackling the ongoing challenges posed by Covid-19 and its various variants.
Dr Mary Ramsay, UKHSA’s Head of Immunisation, said that regular washing of hands can help protect you from Covid-19 and other bugs and viruses. Dr Ramsay added that if a person is experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness then they should stay away from others where possible.
Treatment for Eris: Standard Protocols Apply
When it comes to treating Eris or any infectious Covid variant, the standard protocols remain consistent. Patients with mild to moderate illness are typically advised to self-isolate at home for a period of up to 14 days to prevent further transmission of the virus.
Vaccination continues to be the cornerstone in the fight against Covid-19 and its variants. Getting vaccinated remains the most effective strategy to build herd immunity and ultimately bring an end to the pandemic.
As the situation evolves and more data becomes available, healthcare professionals and researchers will continue to monitor the efficacy of existing treatments and potential therapeutics specifically targeting different Covid variants, including Eris. However, in the current scenario, following established public health guidelines, practicing preventive measures, and getting vaccinated remain crucial steps to mitigate the impact of Eris and other Covid variants.