New Covid variant Eris hits UK: Should India be worried?

After reeling with the microscopic villain coronavirus for over three years, the world finally took a sigh of relief when the cases of the disease plummeted in 2022. From being one of the most difficult diseases to tame, Covid-19 became one of the most common diseases that could be controlled. Just like other diseases, it proliferates and new variants are discovered every now and then. While some variants of coronavirus seem mild to moderate, others make a buzz because of how dangerous they are. The latest variant to be spreading quickly in United Kingdom is the sub-variant named EG.5.1 that has been nicknamed Eris.

The variant Eris is spreading quickly in the UK, with the virus affecting one in seven patients affected with Covid. As per reports, it now accounts for more than 14 percent of the cases in the country. The cases are increasing at a rapid rate, which has concerned health authorities.

covid new variant
A new Covid-19 variant called Eris hits UK. Image Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Covid Eris variant cases increase, but hospitalizations are still low

After nearly a quiet year, the Covid-19 sub-variant called Eris has not only affected the United Kingdom, but the United States and Japan as well. First identified in July 2023, the strain has become the second most dominant variant in the UK. As per the data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), EG.5.1, which is a sub lineage of Omicron, has led to a significant rise in the cases of coronavirus. Over 5 percent of the tests conducted on individuals with respiratory illnesses last week found traces of the new variant of Covid-19, as per agency reports.

While the health authorities have expressed concern, there has been a slight increase in hospitalisations due to this variant. Reports suggest that while there has been a significant increase in the number of coronavirus cases, the number of hospitalisations has not increased significantly.

Should India worry about the new Covid variant Eris?

Eris or the Omicron EG 5.1 is a new variant of the COVID-19 Omicron virus. The symptoms of this variant of Covid are not so different from previous variants of the virus. The symptoms of Eris are the same as for Omicron, including fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, aches and pains, Dr Hemalata Arora, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai, tells Health Shots.

Covid-19 variants
The new Covid-19 variant is contagious. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Since the variant is highly contagious, Dr Arora thinks that the variant “will likely spread through the world as it seems to be infectious. However, it is unlikely that it would become a major concern. Most of the country already has herd immunity and would have some antibodies to fight even a new variant and this variant has not shown any signs of it being more virulent than the parent Omicron yet.”

While there is more information required on the variant, health authorities have warned people to be aware of it and monitor the symptoms. It has only been two weeks since the World Health Organisation (WHO) started tracking the EG.5.1 variant. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned people to stay protected against Covid variants by vaccines and prior infections, but people still need to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour to limit the transmission.

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