By Zaya Williams
The World Health Organization (WHO) has sounded the alarm as a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, named Eris or E-G.5, spreads rapidly across multiple continents. This development comes as global COVID-19 infections surged to an alarming three-quarters of a billion last month, highlighting the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic.
E-G.5, once a mere mention on the horizon, has swiftly become the dominant variant circulating within the United States and has gained considerable ground in the United Kingdom as well. Currently accounting for one in seven COVID-19 cases in the UK, this variant has escalated its presence since its potential threat was first flagged by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) back in July.
The variant’s ascendancy has been remarkable, quickly overtaking the previously prevalent Arcturus variant to claim its position as the second most widespread strain in the UK. Its rapid expansion is not confined to the UK alone, however. Eris is also making its mark in North America, Asia, and Europe, prompting Japan to label it as a concerning ‘ninth wave’ of COVID-19 infections.
While the global COVID-19 situation is no longer categorized as a public health emergency by WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhannom, the organization remains acutely aware of the risk posed by the evolving virus. “The virus continues to circulate in all countries, continues to kill and it continues to change,” Dr. Tedros emphasized. In this context, who’s vigilance remains steadfast, as they closely monitor several variants, including E-G.5.
Dr. Tedros went on to stress that the risk of a more dangerous variant emerging still looms, one that could potentially lead to a surge in cases and fatalities. The organization is committed to publishing a comprehensive risk evaluation in order to provide the public and health authorities with a clear understanding of the potential threats posed by these new variants.
Derived from the Omicron strain, the E-G.5 variant, also known as the Eris variant, now constitutes a substantial 14.6% of all COVID-19 cases in the area where it’s prevalent, positioning it as the second most common type of the virus in that region.