What is Eris (EG.5.1), the New Variant of the Coronavirus Spreading Rapidly in the UK? Is it Barbie and Oppenheimer’s Reason for Its Rapid Spread?
The Eris variant, also known as EG.5.1, is a subvariant of the Omicron variant, which remains the most prevalent coronavirus strain globally of the SARS-CoV-2 virus . It has been named “Eris” due to its distinct characteristics. The Eris variant was officially recognized on July 31, 2023, following a surge in infections attributed to this subvariant.
It is important to note that the Eris variant is not entirely new but a subvariant or descendant of the Omicron variant . EG.5.1 has a minor quirk in one of its spike proteins — called F456L — that helps it evade the immunity your body has built from previous infections and vaccines.
The Eris variant has been identified as a variant of interest by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its growing prevalence globally. Countries need to monitor the spread of this variant and take appropriate measures to control its transmission.
In Which Countries Is The New Variant Of The Coronavirus Eris (EG.5.1) More Common?
As of July 20, Eris is the second most common variant infecting people in the U.K., accounting for roughly 14.55% of cases and growing at 20.51% per week, according to The U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA). It trails behind fellow Omicron subvariant Arcturus, or XBB.1.16, at 41.82% of U.S. cases.
It is believed that popular movies that were recently released, Barbie and Oppenheimer, can cause rapid transmission of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 due to the indoor area of movie theaters, insufficient ventilation, and crowded fan groups.
There is no evidence that the Eris variant is more severe or likely to make people die. Specialists say EG.5.1 isn’t pushing infections up enough to cause another considerable wave but may evolve into a more transmissible variant. According to the specialists, there is no need to concern about the new pandemic possibility, but WHO says it is crucial to observe the progress.
What Are the Symptoms of the New Variant of Coronavirus Eris (EG.5.1)?
The symptoms of the Eris variant are similar to those of the Omicron variant . Based on the search results, here are the common symptoms associated with the Eris variant:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Fatigue (mild or severe)
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Shortness of breath (less common)
It is important to note that symptoms can vary from person to person, and some individuals may experience a different combination or severity of symptoms. Suppose you suspect you have been exposed to the Eris variant or any COVID-19 variant. In that case, it is recommended to follow local health guidelines and seek medical advice for testing and appropriate care.
How Can I Protect Against the New Variant of the Coronavirus, Eris (EG.5.1)?
Based on the search results, there is limited information specifically about the precautions for the Eris variant, also known as EG.5.1. However, since the Eris variant is a subvariant of the Omicron variant, it is advisable to follow general COVID-19 precautions recommended by health authorities. Here are some precautionary measures that are generally advised to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission:
Vaccination: Get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as you are eligible. Vaccines have been shown to provide significant protection against severe illness and hospitalization, including against variants like Omicron and its subvariants .
Face Masks: Wear a mask in indoor public settings and crowded outdoor areas, especially in an area with high transmission rates or where mask mandates are in place. Follow local guidelines regarding mask usage.
Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Social Distancing: Maintain physical distance from others, especially in crowded settings. Follow local guidelines on social distancing measures.
Ventilation: Ensure good ventilation in indoor spaces by opening windows or using air purifiers. This can help reduce the concentration of viral particles in the air.
Avoid Large Gatherings: Limit your participation in large gatherings, especially in enclosed spaces where physical distancing may be challenging.
Stay Informed: Stay updated with the latest information and guidelines from reliable sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and local health authorities. Be aware of any specific precautions or recommendations related to the Eris variant that health authorities may issue in your area.
It is important to note that the Eris variant and COVID-19 situation is evolving, and guidelines may change as more information becomes available. It is advisable to stay informed and follow the guidance of health authorities in your area for the most up-to-date precautions.
How to Diagnose the New Variant of the Coronavirus, Eris (EG.5.1)?
Diagnosing the Eris variant, or EG.5.1, follows similar procedures as diagnosing other COVID-19 variants. The diagnosis is typically made through clinical symptoms, laboratory testing, and genetic sequencing. Here are some steps involved in diagnosing the Eris variant:
Clinical Symptoms: The Eris variant is associated with symptoms similar to other COVID-19 variants, such as fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, headache, and changes in smell or taste . If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, seeking medical attention and getting tested is essential.
COVID-19 Testing: Diagnostic tests, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and rapid antigen tests, are used to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These tests can help determine whether you have an active COVID-19 infection.
Genetic Sequencing: Further analysis is needed to identify the specific variant, including the Eris variant. This involves genetic sequencing of the viral sample obtained during testing. Genetic sequencing helps determine the particular genetic makeup of the virus and detect any specific mutations associated with the variant .
It is important to note that diagnosing and identifying specific variants, including Eris, may require specialized laboratory facilities and expertise. Therefore, the identification of Eris may not be available in all testing centers or regions.
Suppose you suspect you have been exposed to the Eris variant or have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. In that case, contacting your healthcare provider or local health authority for guidance on testing and diagnosis is recommended. They will be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information and recommend appropriate testing protocols based on your specific situation and local guidelines.
How To Use the Eris (EG.5.1) Rapid Test Kit?
To properly use a rapid test kit, it’s essential to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer, as each kit might have different procedures. In general, the process for using a rapid test kit involves the following steps:
Read the Instructions: Carefully read and understand the instructions provided in the kit’s manual or packaging. Follow the steps outlined in the manual.
Prepare the Materials: Ensure you have all the necessary materials and components mentioned in the instructions. This might include a test device, a sample collection swab, a reagent solution, and a dropper.
Collect the Sample: Use the provided swab to collect a sample. This could be a sample from the throat, nasal passage, or another relevant area. Follow the instructions on how to properly collect the sample.
Apply the Sample: Place the collected sample in the designated area on the test device, as indicated in the instructions.
Add Reagent: If the kit requires the addition of a reagent or solution, follow the instructions to apply the necessary drops onto the test device.
Wait for Results: The test will have a specific waiting period mentioned in the instructions. During this time, the test will react with the sample and reagents.
Interpret Results: After the waiting period, check the test device for any color changes or indicators according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Results might be displayed as lines, colors, or other visual cues.
It’s important to note that rapid test kits can vary in terms of accuracy and sensitivity, and they might not be as accurate as laboratory-based tests. If you get a positive result, please consult with a healthcare professional for guidance.
How To Use the Eris (EG.5.1) RT-PCR Test Kit?
There are two different test methods for diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 and its subvariants. These are Rapid Test Kits and RT-PCR Kits. The rapid test method is usually more basic and easier to use than the RT-PCR method; however, the RT-PCR method is more accurate and specific to the desired variant. For Omicron and its subvariants like Eris, real-time PCR testing kits leverage cutting-edge technology for detecting SARS-CoV-2 and differentiating the strain contracted in a single test.
These tests can be adapted to detect specific variants by targeting different regions of the virus’s genome. By targeting its unique genetic markers, laboratories, and diagnostic companies can design and produce RT-PCR assays to specifically detect the Omicron variant.
Using an RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) test kit for COVID-19 typically involves several steps. Remember that the specific instructions may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer of the test kit. The process can be outlined as follows:
- Sample Collection:
- The most common samples for COVID-19 RT-PCR testing are collected using a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab or an oropharyngeal (OP) swab. Some kits might also allow for saliva samples.
- Follow the specific guidelines the test kit manufacturer provided for proper sample collection to ensure accurate results.
- Sample Transport and Preparation:
- Place the swab into a transport medium provided by the kit or per the manufacturer’s instructions. This helps preserve the integrity of the collected sample during transportation to the laboratory.
- Laboratory Processing:
- The collected sample is transported to a laboratory equipped for RT-PCR testing.
- The genetic material (RNA) from the collected sample is extracted in the lab. This is a crucial step in the process.
- Reverse Transcription (RT):
- The reverse transcription method transforms the collected RNA into complementary DNA (cDNA). This step is essential because the PCR reaction will work with DNA.
- Amplification (PCR):
- The cDNA is then subjected to a series of temperature cycles in the PCR machine. This causes the targeted viral genetic material to multiply exponentially if present in the sample.
- Detection and Analysis:
- Fluorescent probes or other detection methods monitor the amplification process. If the virus’s genetic material is present in the sample, the amount of fluorescence will increase as the genetic material is replicated.
- The number of cycles needed for the fluorescence signal to reach a certain threshold (Cycle Threshold or Ct value) can indicate the viral load in the sample.
- Interpretation of Results:
- The laboratory analyzes the results based on the Ct value and other factors. A positive result indicates the presence of the virus’s genetic material in the sample, while a negative result indicates its absence.
- The laboratory provides the test results to the healthcare provider or the tested individual. Public health authorities may also receive the data for tracking and monitoring purposes.
It is important to note that trained healthcare professionals should conduct RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 in a controlled laboratory setting. The steps and procedures outlined above are a general overview, and the specifics may vary based on the test kit and laboratory protocols in use. Always follow the instructions provided by the test kit manufacturer and adhere to the guidelines set by your local health authorities.
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