Eris: New COVID-19 coronavirus variant detailed
Dr Veal, the specialist digital clinician at Medichecks, said the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Eris variant is under investigation.
“All viruses change and evolve over time as they spread between people, which we’ve already seen with COVID-19,” said Dr Veal.
Genetic mutations in a virus can either be meaningless or it could lead to the virus spreading more easily; sometimes the variant could cause more serious illness.
As the WHO declared Eris is under investigation, Dr Veal said “it’s worth keeping a close eye on”.
Dr Veal assured: “At this stage, there are no indications that it’s causing more severe symptoms.
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“And the UK’s health security position is that there’s no increased risk with the Eris variant compared to the Omicron variant.”
While there are “no severe concerns at the moment”, there are certain groups of people who are more vulnerable to the Eris Covid variant.
At-risk groups include:
- Those who live in a care home for older adults
- Those aged over 65
- Those between six months and 64 years old in a clinical risk group
- Frontline health and social care workers
- People working in care homes for older adults
- People who live in the same household as people who are immunosuppressed.
Dr Veal said: “It’s important to get your booster jab if you’re offered it from the NHS.
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“People who are in at-risk groups with a higher risk of severe illness are advised to get a booster this autumn.”
People who fall ill to the Eris variant are most likely to experience:
- A cough
- A fever
- A runny nose
- Aches and pains.
As for a winter lockdown, Dr Veal said there are “no current plans” for one to take place at the end of this year.
Dr Veal elaborated: “I think it’s important to remember that lockdown was a highly exceptional approach taken in highly exceptional circumstances.
“At the time, we were faced with a new virus that had never been experienced by any human before that was spreading globally, rapidly.
“We had no treatment options, we had no vaccination options to prevent it, and so we had to create an exceptional response to that circumstance.”
Now that vaccinations are available, and almost every person in the world has had some exposure to the virus, it’s “unlikely lockdowns will be required” in the future.
Dr Veal added: “That said, new variants continue to emerge, and if one emerged that evaded all vaccines and that treatment was ineffective against, and in the event that it was spreading rapidly globally, then a lockdown may need to be considered.”
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