PRO/AH/EDR> COVID-19 update (30): omicron EG.5.1, updates, WHO, global


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

In this update:
[1] Omicron subvariant EG.5.1 (“Eris”)
[A] EG.5.1 Nicknamed “Eris” Is New COVID-19 Variant Spreading,
Monitored By WHO
[B] WHO EG.5 initial risk assessment
[C] US: CDC says COVID variant EG.5 is now dominant, including strain
some call “Eris”
[D] UK: COVID-19 new variant “Eris” emerges in UK, here’s how to
protect yourself
[E] India: COVID genomics body to meet amid rise of new variant eris
[2] Selected countries/regions
[A] European CDC
[B] Africa CDC
[3] Deer COVID-19, first lab-confirmed case in Canada
[4] WHO weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 (3 Aug 2023)

[1] Omicron subvariant EG.5.1 (“Eris”)
[A] A new COVID-19 variant has emerged: Here’s what we know about EG.5
so far
Date: Tue 8 Aug 2023
Source: CTV News [edited]

A new COVID-19 variant has emerged, serving as a reminder that the
coronavirus continues to mutate and spread around the world,
disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations.

The variant is called EG.5 and is a descendant of omicron.

The World Health Organization (WHO) added EG.5 to its list of
currently circulating variants that are under monitoring on 19 Jul

To date [8 Aug 2023], cases associated with the new variant have been
reported in the United Kingdom, United States and elsewhere.

The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency suggests that EG.5
makes up approximately 14.6% — or 1 in 7 — of all COVID-19 cases in
the U.K.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that EG.5
accounted for roughly 17.3% — or one in six — of new COVID-19 cases
in the U.S. in the past 2 weeks.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at University
Health Network in Toronto, said he expects cases of EG.5 to pop up in
Canada soon, if they aren’t already.

“It’s probably everywhere and if it isn’t everywhere, it’ll be
everywhere,” he told in a phone interview Monday [7 Aug

Bogoch said he expects the presence of EG.5 will “very likely” be
similar to what was observed with other sublineages of omicron, with
the latest variant gradually becoming the most dominant sublineage
around the world.

“We saw a BA.2, we saw a BA.4 and BA.5, we saw an XBB and now it’s
EG.5, so the virus continues to mutate and we’re gonna see waxing and
waning of the virus in the community,” he said.

“Of course, we have measures to detect it, and probably in August
[2023] or sometime in September [2023], we’ll start to see a
corresponding rise of wastewater signals in Canada.”

As the past few years have shown, COVID-19 has a disproportionate
impact on certain groups, Bogoch said, adding that EG.5 will probably
be no different.

“Like we’ve seen in the omicron era and even before the omicron era,
COVID will disproportionately impact certain cohorts,” he said.

“So sadly, we’re going to see, probably, a corresponding rise in
hospitalizations, especially among people who are more susceptible to
severe illness — those are older people and people with underlying
medical conditions.”

Some of the best defences against COVID-19 have been and continue to
be masks, vaccination and good ventilation or air quality in indoor
spaces, Bogoch stressed.

“So we have the tools, we’ve known about this for years and there’s
really nothing new,” he added.

EG.5 has been referred to as Eris by some, but the WHO revised its
COVID-19 naming system earlier this year [2023], deciding to assign
nicknames or Greek alphabet labels only for variants of concern such
as delta and omicron and no longer for variants of interest or under

[Byline: Noushin Ziafati]

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