As of 8 August 2023, the new Covid variant, also known as EG.5 and Eris, has been discovered in more than 50 nations and is currently the fastest-growing Covid-19 subvariant in the US.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that it is to blame for about 17% of the current instances of COVID.
The WHO determined that Erin should be continuously monitored due to mutations that could make it severe and because it is extremely contagious while assessing the potential threat of the variant. The likelihood of Eris going critical, however, is slim.
The SA Medical Association has recommended people to prioritize hygiene and consider practicing public health measures again as a precaution, even though it hasn’t reached South Africa.
“It is quite transmissible, more than the other sub-variants and you can imagine then that many people will be infected, and [that] it will transmit to many other countries that we know,” Mvuyisi Mzukwa, chairperson of the SA Medical Association, said.
He issued a warning that persons over 65 and those with underlying medical issues including diabetes, kidney disease, and heart failure are more vulnerable to contracting the virus.
In the meantime, Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna, and Novavax have upgraded their vaccines to successfully combat the burgeoning Omicron sublineage XBB.1.5. The new vaccines are better suited to tackle the virus’s changing strains since this subvariant, like EG.5, has a single mutation in its spike protein, a crucial target for vaccine effectiveness.
The CDC’s Mandy Cohen said she expects these new vaccines to be widely accessible in the US by the third or fourth week of September.