Just when we thought we’d seen the back of Covid and its innumerable variants that reared their heads like a final boss in a video game, here comes along a new strain: Eris. Great!
Cases have been growing rapidly of the new variant, Covid EG.5, which is an offshoot of the Omicron virus that was circulating earlier this year.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it was first identified in February of this year, and they say that some tests suggest it can evade our immune systems more easily than some circulating variants, but this hasn’t necessarily translated into more people becoming seriously ill with the virus.
“Based on the available evidence, the public health risk posed by EG.5 is evaluated as low at the global level,” the organisation has said.
What are the symptoms?
Shortness of breath
Loss of taste or smell
Speaking to Insider, John Swartzberg, an infectious-disease expert who’s a professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Public Health, shared: “Eris, like other strains that cause COVID-19, can lead to a loss of taste or smell, cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, and headaches.”
As with other strains of Covid, the most at-risk are the elderly, those with chronic diseases and whose immune systems are compromised by medication or illness.
How best to avoid it? Follow the usual advice of washing your hands thoroughly, wearing masks if you feel more comfortable, and taking vaccines that are offered to you.
Dr Meera Chand, the deputy director of the UK Health Safety Authority, stresses that vaccines are still as important as ever: “Vaccination remains our best defence against future Covid-19 waves, so it is still as important as ever that people come take up all the doses for which they are eligible as soon as possible.”
Another thing you can do is eat a plant-rich diet. New research shows that those with a plant-heavy diet were 40% less likely to become severely ill From Covid-19.