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New Covid variant Eris is now dominant – symptoms to look out for

Dr Hilary Jones explains nine new symptoms of Covid

A new Covid variant is now the dominant strain, driving up the majority of cases in the US.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explained that as of Friday, more than one in six Covid cases are projected to be caused by a subvariant dubbed Eris.

The descendant of Omicron, also known as EG.5.1, is one of the quickest growing variants across the world, which could be due to a “slightly beneficial mutation” which means it is spreading faster than its relatives, according to experts.

Eris was first classified as a variant in the UK on July 31 and now it accounts for one in 10 Covid cases.

It is now considered to be the second most prevalent variant in the UK, after Arcturus which makes up almost half of all infection cases, The UK Health Security Agency reports.

READ MORE Pharmacist shares five symptoms of new Covid variant Eris to spot

This comes as estimated Covid numbers surged by almost 200,000 last month, from 606,656 predicted cases on 4 July to 785,980 on 27 July, according to The Zoe Health Study.

The health portal estimates figures for Covid infections in the UK.

Some experts said the recent rise in cases could be due to the rush to see Barbie and Oppenheimer in cinemas, meaning people were packed tight in crowded rooms.

However, it is still too early to tell whether this has had an effect because it takes several weeks for infections to show up in hospitals.

Furthermore, others believe that poor weather and waning immunity are to blame.

Independent Sage member Professor Christina Pagel told The Independent: “The wet weather over the last few weeks probably isn’t helping either as it keeps people inside.”

She added that the UK is “definitely starting another wave”.

However, Pagel also said that there is a possibility that the spread of Eris may slow down over the summer holidays when schools are closed and people are going on holiday.

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After Eris, the current most common variants are XBB.1.16 at 15.6 percent, XBB.2.23 at 11.2 percent and XBB.1.5 at 10.3 percent.

EG.5. is one of many variants very similar to Omicron which have been recently competing for dominance. They are all descended from the XBB strain.

Experts shared that while symptoms and severity of the strains have been similar, identifying changes in the virus is getting more difficult because surveillance has quietened down.

Duncan Reid, Pharmacist at Pharmacy2U, told Express.co.uk to look out for the following signs:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sneezing
  • Sore Throat. 

Traditional symptoms such as shortness of breath, loss of smell and a fever are now far less common, according to Zoe.

Fortunately, there is currently no indication that Eris is any worse than Omicron.

Reid explained that the majority of patients will encounter mild symptoms and typically recover within a few weeks. 

He added: “If you exhibit symptoms accompanied by a high temperature or find yourself unable to engage in work or regular activities, it’s advisable to remain at home and minimise contact with others.”

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  • Posted on August 8, 2023