What to know about COVID Eris: Variant spreading in the UK and US this summer

A new COVID-19 subvariant nicknamed Eris is spreading in the U.K. and U.S.
A new COVID-19 subvariant nicknamed Eris is spreading in the U.K. and U.S.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has its eyes on yet another new COVID-19 variant that has been linked to a spike in hospitalizations overseas.

EG.5.1, nicknamed Eris, was added to the WHO SARS-CoV-2 variant monitoring list and has quickly become prevalent in both the U.K. and U.S.

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 a rate of 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.

What is the COVID Omicron variant Eris?

Eris is a nickname given to EG.5.1, a subvariant of Omicron (B.1.1.529).

It was added to the WHO watch list, along with EG.5 under the umbrella E.G5#, a notation that covers the EG.5 lineage.

T. Ryan Gregory, Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, began calling the variant Eris in posts on X, formerly Twitter.

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Where is the new variant Eris spreading?

Eris has already surpassed Arcturus in the U.S., becoming the most prevalent variant in the two-week period ending on August 5, with 17.3% of cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Both the U.S. and U.K. have endured an increase in COVID hospitalizations over the summer months, with the U.S. seeing a 12.1% increase in hospital admissions the week ending July 22, according to CDC tracking.

In England, there was a 40.7% increase in hospitalizations the week ending July 29 versus the seven days prior, according to the UKHSA.

What are the symptoms of Eris?

According to Zoe Health Study, an organization that monitors and estimates COVID cases in the U.K., Eris has similar symptoms to Omicron. The most common include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Sneezing

  • Sore throat

  • Coughing

  • Changes to sense of smell

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What to do if you test positive

If you believe you may have COVID or test positive, the CDC suggests several ways to treat the symptoms and stop the spread.

  • Stay home and separate from others.

  • Improve ventilation in your home.

  • Mask with an N-95 or other high-quality mask when around other people.

  • Keep up to date on COVID vaccines and boosters.

  • Monitor symptoms and stay in touch with your healthcare provider.

  • Take medications and treatments as prescribed.

  • Rest and use over-the-counter medications to manage symptoms like headache.

  • Practice hygiene such as washing hands often and cleaning shared surfaces.

  • Use their testing and treatment location tool to find resources in your area.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID Eris, the variant dominating US, UK cases has familiar symptoms