New Covid-19 Variant Eris Found in South Africa

South Africa's National Department of Health has confirmed the first case of the new Covid-19 "Eris" variant from a sample taken in the Gauteng province.

While the department is reminding citizens that they can still access life-saving vaccines at public healthcare facilities, Researcher and Virologist, Professor Tulio de Oliveira has said that there is no cause for concern. He said that since the end of 2021, there had been various lineages of Omicron circulating in South Africa, without an increase in hospitalisations.

WHO has now designated Eris, also known as EG.5, as a variant of interest (VOI), a subvariant of the Omicron lineage that originally emerged in November 2021.

The organisation said there has been a steady increase in this variant's prevalence, with over 7,000 sequences shared from 51 countries as of August 7, 2023.

Due to its growth advantage and immune escape characteristics, WHO said EG.5 may cause a rise in case incidence and become dominant in some countries or even globally.


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