• WHO declares 'Eris' Covid strain as 'variant of interest’

    WHO declares 'Eris' Covid strain as 'variant of interest’

    The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday classified the EG.5 (Eris) coronavirus variant as a...

    Digital Desk: The World Health Organization (WHO) on
    Wednesday classified the EG.5 (Eris) coronavirus variant as a "variant of
    interest." However, the organization emphasized that this particular
    variant did not appear to pose a significantly greater threat to public health
    than other existing variants.

    EG.5, a rapidly spreading strain, has gained prominence as
    the most prevalent variant in the United States, accounting for over 17% of
    reported cases. This variant has been linked to recent increases in COVID-19
    cases across the nation. Additionally, EG.5 has been identified in several
    other countries, including China, South Korea, Japan, and Canada.

    In an official risk evaluation statement, the WHO clarified
    that, based on the available evidence, there were no indications that EG.5
    carried greater public health risks compared to other Omicron descendant
    lineages currently in circulation. However, the organization highlighted the
    need for a more comprehensive assessment of the risks associated with EG.5.

    COVID-19 has had a profound global impact, claiming the
    lives of more than 6.9 million people and infecting over 768 million
    individuals since its emergence. The WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic in
    March 2020 and recently revoked the global emergency status for COVID-19 in May
    of this year.

    Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead on COVID-19,
    emphasized that while EG.5 exhibited an elevated level of transmissibility,
    there was no evidence suggesting it was more severe than other variants within
    the Omicron lineage. She stated, "We don't detect a change in severity of
    EG.5 compared to other sublineages of Omicron that have been in circulation
    since late 2021."

    Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed
    concern over the lack of comprehensive COVID-19 data reporting from numerous
    countries to the WHO. He highlighted that only a mere 11% of countries had
    reported hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units related to the

    In response, the WHO issued a series of standing
    recommendations for managing the ongoing pandemic. The organization urged
    countries to continue providing COVID-19 data, particularly mortality and
    morbidity data. Additionally, the WHO stressed the importance of maintaining
    vaccination efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

    Van Kerkhove pointed out that the absence of reliable data
    from various countries was impeding global efforts to combat the virus
    effectively. She stated, "About a year ago, we were in a much better
    situation to either anticipate or act or be more agile. And now the delay in
    our ability to do that is growing. And our ability to do this is

    As the situation evolves, health authorities and researchers
    worldwide will continue to closely monitor the EG.5 variant's behavior and
    potential implications for public health, aiming to make informed decisions to
    protect populations from the ongoing threat of COVID-19.