New COVID Variant 'Eris' Hits UK, Maharashtra Witnesses An Uptick In Cases

9 Aug 2023 • In a seemingly worrying indicator, Maharashtra is witnessing signs of an increase in Covid cases after a prolonged period of decline, coinciding with the detection of a new Omicron subvariant - EG.5.1 (Eris)- within the state, marking its first appearance in India. Dr Rajesh Karyakarte, Maharashtra’s coordinator for genome sequencing further explains: “EG.5.1 was detected in Maharashtra in May. As two months have passed after its detection and no significant surge in Covid in June and July, this sub-variant has not seemed to make an impact. XBB.1.16 and XBB.2.3 are still dominant"

The UK has been experiencing a rapid proliferation of the EG.5.1 subvariant, which has earned the nickname “Eris”. It was officially recognised on July 31, after a surge in infections attributed to this sub-variant.

About 17.3% of U.S. COVID-19 cases are believed to have been caused by the variant, formally known as EG.5, in early August, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number is 7.5% higher than it was in early July.

The variant is for now a variant under monitoring, or VUM, for the WHO, which is a less serious designation than a variant of interest, or VOI, according to its weekly epidemiological update.

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