New COVID Vaccines Set to Roll To Combat ‘Eris’ Variant
A new coronavirus variant, EG.5, has emerged as a prominent presence in the United States, according to Forbes (among other outlets). This variant is a descendant of the SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant, first identified in November 2021 and reported by New Scientist. It shares a close relationship with XBB.1.9.2, another subtype of omicron, but with an additional mutation in the spike protein. The nickname “Eris” was given to it by T. Ryan Gregory at the University of Guelph, Canada.
Nationwide, EG.5 is contributing to approximately 17% of recent Covid-19 cases in the country, slightly edging out the next most common lineage, XBB.1.16, which accounts for 16%, according to the latest estimates from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As reported by Reuters, a new COVID vaccine is set to be released next month. However, health professionals and analysts anticipate that it might not be well-received, even as hospitalizations increase due to “Eris.” According to the CDC, COVID-19 indicators, including hospital admissions, emergency department visits, test positivity, and wastewater levels, are increasing nationally.
Public health specialists hope Americans will embrace this new vaccine similar to how they do with flu shots. Nevertheless, the demand for the vaccine has significantly declined since its initial availability in 2021. Over 240 million individuals in the U.S., which equates to 73% of the population, have already received at least one dose.
Starting next month, healthcare providers and pharmacies like CVS Health will begin providing the updated vaccine designed to combat the Omicron variant of the virus, which has maintained its prevalence since the previous year.
Outside of the United States, EG.5 is rapidly spreading in Ireland, France, the UK, Japan, and China. The World Health Organization (WHO) elevated its classification from a monitored variant to a variant of interest. This shift indicates the organization’s belief that the variant warrants closer monitoring and further study.
Get the latest updates from the CDC here.