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Covid – latest: Eris variant sparks fears of new rise in cases as UK sees spike in infections

New Eris Covid variant, technically called EG.5.1, now accounts for one in seven new cases in UK

Tara Cobham,Albert Toth
Monday 07 August 2023 12:36 BST
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Huge vaccine centre launched to bolster UK’s pandemic preparedness

A new Covid variant has emerged in the UK as cases have once again started to rise.

The Eris variant, technically called EG.5.1, now makes up one in seven new COVID cases, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Descended from the Omicron variant, the UKHSA has been monitoring Eris’ prevalence due to increasing cases internationally.

It was classified as a variant in the UK on 31 July. According to World Health Organisation data, the EG.5 strain was first documented in mid-February this year.

The surge in Covid cases comes as estimated numbers jumped by almost 200,000 last month, from 606,656 predicted cases on 4 July to 785,980 on 27 July, according to The Zoe Health Study.

Eris is now the second most prevalent variant in the UK, after Arcturus which makes up almost half of all infection cases at 39.4 per cent, according to UKHSA.

Officials say they are "closely" monitoring the situation as COVID case rates continue to rise.

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Eleanor Noyce7 August 2023 12:33
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What do the experts say about Eris?

Independent Sage member Prof Christina Pagel told The Independent she believes the UK is “definitely starting another wave” driven by Omicron subvariants, Arcturus and Eris, waning immunity and poor weather.

She said: “The wet weather over the last few weeks probably isn’t helping either as it keeps people inside.”

However, there is a possibility that the spread of the variant may slow down over the summer holidays with schools closed and people travelling abroad.

“It is likely to be dominant by September when kids return to school and adults to work or university, plus we start spending much more time inside,” she said.

The Covid expert added that “most people are now over 18 months from their last vaccine” and the majority of people are also “ several months out from their last infection too”. Thus, we could see the wave “grow faster” in September.

Eleanor Noyce7 August 2023 12:00
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Is Barbenheimer really to blame? Covid experts on reasons behind jump in cases

The UK has seen a recent resurgence of Covid, with a spike in infections and yet another new variant emerging this summer.

Eris, a descendant of the Omicron variant, now accounts for as many as one in seven cases after it was reported for the first time in July.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain reports:

Is Barbenheimer really to blame? Covid experts on reasons behind jump in cases

UK has seen increase in Covid cases and a new variant called Eris accounting for one in seven new infections

Eleanor Noyce7 August 2023 11:00
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Watch: Huge vaccine centre launched to bolster UK’s pandemic preparedness

Huge vaccine centre launched to bolster UK’s pandemic preparedness
Tara Cobham7 August 2023 10:00
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All we know about new Covid variant Eris amid surge in cases

A new Covid variant dubbed Eris has emerged as hospital admissions spike amid bad weather and waning immunity this summer.

A descendant of Omicron, Eris, or EG.5.1, was first classified as a variant in the UK on 31 July, but now accounts for one in 10 Covid cases.

It is now the second most prevalent variant in the UK, after Arcturus which makes up almost half of all infection cases at 39.4 per cent, according to UKHSA.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain reports:

All we know about new Covid variant Eris and its symptoms amid surge in cases

Eris desends from Omicron and is now the second most prevalent Covid variant in the UK

Tara Cobham7 August 2023 09:42
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UK’s newly launched vaccine lab aimed at tackling next pandemic

A state-of-the-art vaccine research facility, where scientists will work to ensure future pandemics are stopped in their tracks and do not cause the same disruption to everyday life as Covid-19, has been unveiled by the government.

The Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre (VDEC) is based at the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) science and defence technology campus Porton Down, near Salisbury in Wiltshire.

Live viruses will be kept on-site in specialist containment facilities, with researchers looking at pathogens that do not yet have a vaccine, or ones where immunisation could be improved, such as flu, mpox or hantavirus.

Storm Newton reports:

UK’s newly launched vaccine centre to help bolster pandemic preparedness

It is hoped the site will help protect the UK from future threats

Tara Cobham7 August 2023 08:30
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UK could be ‘flying blind’ on Covid this year, expert says

Christina Pagel, a professor of operational research at University College London, has explained her view that the UK may be facing new wave of Covid.

“What worries me most is if we get a repeat of the last winter NHS crisis this winter again, with Covid, flu and RSV all hitting around the same time,” she tells the Guardian, “we are definitely flying near blind.”

Pagel explains that this could be triggered by falling immunity rates, new variants like Eris, and poor weather keeping people inside. “We might see the wave continue to grow, and grow faster, in September,” she said.

Albert Toth7 August 2023 07:50
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Eris: What are the symptoms of the new variant?

As a strain of Omicron, the symptoms for Eris are fairly similar. Everything we know:

All we know about new Covid variant Eris and its symptoms amid surge in cases

Eris desends from Omicron and is now the second most prevalent Covid variant in the UK

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 August 2023 07:47
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What has caused the recent rise in Covid-19 cases?

With Covid-19 cases steadily climbing for the past couple of weeks, experts are looking for answers. Some have turned to an unexpected possibility:

Is Barbenheimer really to blame? Covid experts on reasons behind jump in cases

UK has seen increase in Covid cases and a new variant called Eris accounting for one in seven new infections

Albert Toth6 August 2023 17:00
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Can I get vaccinated against Eris?

The UKHSA has indicated that further booster vaccines will be rolled out in Autumn of this year, to bolster vulnerable people in the UK’s immunity against all strains of Covid:

“The NHS will be in contact in autumn 2023 when the seasonal vaccine is available for those who are eligible due to health conditions or age, and we urge everyone who is offered to take up the vaccine when offered.”

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of COVID-19 vaccination on the JCVI, said:

“The COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to reduce severe disease across the population, while helping to protect the NHS.”

Albert Toth6 August 2023 15:30

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