A NEW strain of Covid has been dubbed an ‘interesting variant’ after causing a spike in some cases.
The EG.5 strain “Eris” is currently circulating in the UK, US, Europe, East Asia and elsewhere, the World Health Organization said.
The fast-spreading variant is now most common in the United States, accounting for 17 percent of cases.
Latest data shows it is the second most common strain in the UK, accounting for 14.6 per cent of cases, according to the UKHSA.
According to the Zoe Health Study, the total number of Covid infections is believed to have increased from 606,656 on July 4 to 785,980 on July 27.
The WHO found that Eris yielded 30 percent in China and also led to increases in South Korea and Canada.
Infections were also found in Japan, Australia, France, Portugal and Spain.
Although the variant is responsible for hospitalizations and cases worldwide, experts say it is no more deadly than others.
A WHO spokesman said: “Although EG.5 has shown increased prevalence, growth benefits and immune escape properties, no changes in disease severity have been reported to date.”
“While a concurrent increase in the proportion of EG.5 and Covid hospitalizations has been observed in countries such as Japan and the Republic of Korea, no associations have been established between these hospitalizations and EG.5.”
“However, due to its growth advantage and immune-escape properties, EG.5 may lead to an increase in case incidence and become dominant in some countries or even globally.”
A more comprehensive assessment of the risk posed by EG.5 is required, it said.
Covid has killed more than 6.9 million people worldwide since the pandemic broke out in 2020, with more than 768 million confirmed cases since the virus emerged.
The WHO ended the global emergency status for Covid in May this year.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid, said EG.5 is more transmissible but no more serious than other Omicron variants.
She said, “We are not seeing any change in the severity of EG.5 compared to other Omicron sublines that have been in circulation since late 2021.”
What are the five “red flag” symptoms of Eris?
According to the ZOE study, Eris is a strain of Omicron that has five distinctive traits.
- Runny nose
- fatigue (mild or severe)
- sore throat