Im a professor – these five symptoms are more common with Covid Eris variant

Eris: New COVID-19 coronavirus variant detailed

The UK is currently seeing a surge in Covid cases that experts are blaming on bleak weather the country saw this summer.

The ZOE health study, which estimates figures for UK Covid infections, shows there were 96,293 new daily cases of symptomatic infection on September 4.

This comes as new variants Eris and Pirola are driving up cases in the UK.

Considered the second most prevalent variant in the UK after Arcturus, Eris, or EG.5.1, was first classified as a variant by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on August 9. 

The Omicron spin-off has an additional mutation (F456L) in the spike protein which might account for its ability to evade the neutralising antibody response from previous Omicron infections.

READ MORE ‘I’m a pharmacist — here are the symptoms of the new Covid strain we’re seeing’

The emergence of new variants usually gives prominence to a certain group of symptoms.

While there’s currently no exact list of signs linked to Eris, Dr Chris Papadopoulos, Principal Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Bedfordshire, shared with the “common” signs to spot.

He said: “In general, the symptoms of the Eris variant closely mirror those of other variants and primarily affect the upper respiratory tract.”

Therefore the professor recommended looking out for the following signs:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Cough. 

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Dr Papadopoulos added: “Due to the overlap with symptoms of other respiratory illnesses, it may be easy to mistake an Eris infection for a common cold, allergies, flu or pneumonia. 

“Additional symptoms like headaches, fatigue, fever, and muscle pain are also common.”

If you think you might have Covid, the professor recommended getting tested.

How to protect yourself from catching Eris

The professor shared the “key” protective measures, including vaccines and hand hygiene, remain the same.

He said: “Even though Eris is notably more transmissible, adhering to preventive measures – such as vaccination, rigorous hand hygiene, mask-wearing, and social distancing – remains effective. 

“This is particularly crucial in indoor, crowded, or poorly ventilated environments where people are in close proximity, like public transport and healthcare settings.”

The good news is that if you’ve had your last jab or Covid infection in the past six to nine months, your likelihood of contracting Eris “diminishes significantly”, the expert explained.

“Such prior immunity – referred to as ‘hybrid immunity’ when it involves both vaccination and natural infection – also enhances your body’s ability to counteract the variant, mitigating the severity of symptoms if you do contract it,” Dr Papadopoulos added.

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