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FDA Alerts for COVID-19 Eris Variant: Symptoms & Precautions


According to estimates from CDC {The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention}, the COVID-19 variant EG.5  remains the main cause of infections in the United States. It was solely responsible for approximately 30% of all cases for the last week of September ended on 30, accounting for close to 30% of all cases.

EG.5, also known as "Eris," is a subvariant of omicron, which resulted in multiple cases over the span of a few weeks. In the USA, this variant has been prevailing for consecutive weeks.

“According to the data I have seen, EG.5 is less contagious and dominant than other variants like delta, which resulted in a large number of deaths”, says Dean Winslow, MD, professor of medicine at Stanford University in California. He further added, "Clearly, EG.5 is defeating the other variants very quickly,"

The "Fornax" (FL.1.5.1) variant continues to be the second-most dominant variant.

The heavily mutable BA.2.86 (also known as "Pirola") has been causing concerns for medical authorities. However, this rare variant is believed to be much less contagious than variants like EG.5.


A new Covid vaccine is making its way to market  against the new variant  of COVID-19.


Deaths are Rising while the Cases are Falling- 

According to the data published by CDC COVID, hospital admissions related to COVID-19 in the second last week of September 2023 decreased by about 3%, with 19,000 new patients admitted throughout the U.S. compared to the prior week. After nine weeks of steady rising rates, hospitalizations are now falling for the second consecutive week.

However, the acceleration was seen in the deaths related to COVID-19. The death rate went up by 8% as compared to the prior weeks. 

Results of positive COVID-19 tests are starting to decline gradually over time. According to the CDC's most recent statistics, the test positivity rate was recorded at 11.6 percent as of September 23. This indicates a fall of 1.1 percent from the previous week.

According to the CDC, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa stood out as the states with the highest percentage of positive COVID-19 results.

For the Majority of People, The Covid-19 Threat is Still Low-

It is believed that this variant is supposed to be spread but not like other variants. However, it, on the other hand, will not lead to serious damage to a large number of people.

According to the CDC, despite a rise in hospitalizations, rates are still low across most of the nation. According to the most recent CDC report, COVID-19 was responsible for 2.7% of all deaths across the United States of America.

According to Dr. Winslow, "Human pathogens [like the COVID virus] tend to evolve in order to more easily spread from person to person, so it's not a great survival advantage for them to be more lethal."

He continues by saying that evidence suggests vaccination may help in preventing many serious illnesses, hospital stays, and a rise in deaths. According to the U.S. (FDA) Food and Drug Administration updated vaccines must be strong enough to provide immunization against current variants of covid 19.

According to Peter Chin-Hong, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of California based in San Francisco specializing in infectious diseases, the new vaccine should offer good control over variants like EG.5.

The symptoms of EG.5 and XBB.1.5 are similar. So, the vaccine created for XBB.1.5 should offer the same protection to people having the EG.5 variant of COVID-19.

On September 6, Moderna released study results demonstrating that its modified COVID-19 shot increases neutralizing antibodies not just against EG.5 but also against FL.1.5.1 and BA.2.86 by a factor of 8.7 to 11.

Susceptible People Should Follow Precautions Stringently-

There is a certain group of people who are more inclined to catch the virus as compared to other people. People who are more likely to develop it should follow precautions strictly in order to protect them. Doctors believe that adults 50 and above would require intensive care, hospitalization, or a ventilator to breathe easily. The highest number of demises occurred due to covid 19 so far were in people aged above 65.

CDS unveiled that people with a low immune system are more likely to go through extreme symptoms if found positive for covid 19 due to any reason, such as

  • being under serious medical condition

  • running on immunosuppressive medications

Other conditions that increase the risk of intensive care and hospitalization are obesity, heart disease, pulmonary obstructive disorder, etc. Along with this, pregnant women should also take care of them in order to protect them from this virus.

What are the Symptoms of Iris Variant? 

In order to contain the spread, medical authorities issued warnings that people with upper respiratory symptoms should get tested.

This variant of covid 19 has very minimal symptoms as compared to the other strains of the virus. Kindly go through the symptoms mentioned below to know :

  • Sore throat  

  • Coughing with or without phlegm

  • Headache Body aches and pains

  • Runny or stuffy nose  

  • An altered sense of smell

  • Sneezing

If you think you could be infected with the virus, you should get yourself checked in the first place without any delay. And please keep yourself away from people who are vulnerable to catching the virus from you, such as older people.

The long public health emergency came to an end this May. Since then, finding free testing for tests has become challenging for people. In order to improve this situation, CDS has unveiled an online testing tool for people without health insurance to facilitate testing.

The Bottom Line:  

The best way to prevent yourself from this new variant of COVID-19 is to follow the precautions stringently. And as soon as you feel any symptoms, reach out to your nearest healthcare provider to get tested. The symptoms of this variant worsen gradually over time. Therefore, opting for the treatment at the initial stage can decrease its possible severe outcomes.


1. Do COVID tests detect Eris?

There is no reason to think that Eris and Pirola's circulation will prevent the present COVID tests from accurately detecting COVID patients, claims Merchak.

2. What is the Eris variant?

Eris comes out as the sub-variant of Omicron. Over the span of a few weeks, it has spread across the United States severely. The symptoms of this sub-variant are similar to the previous COVID-19 variants. However, at present time, the cases across the US are falling after increasing for weeks in a row. 

3. Do vaccines protect against Eris?

Vaccination will prevent hospitalization and a rise in mortality. FDA says that the new updated vaccine will be potent enough to offer immunization against this strain of COVID-19. Studies find no such big difference between the symptoms of EG.5 and XBB.1.5 variant. Therefore, the vaccine that was developed for XBB.1.5. should offer the same immunization to people having EG.5. 

4. What are the symptoms of the Eris virus?

There is no big difference between the symptoms of Eris variants and the previous variants of COVID-19. This variant of COVID-19 shows minimal symptoms, such as 

  • Sore throat  

  • An altered sense of smell

  • Headache Body aches and pains

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Coughing with or without phlegm

  • Sneezing

As soon as you start having any of the following symptoms, get yourself tested. Delaying to get tested may worsen Iris’s Symptoms. 

5. What was the most severe variant of COVID-19?

Delta is considered one of the deadliest variants of COVID-19. This variant of COVID-19 caused severe symptoms in people who were not vaccinated. Studies reveal that people who got admitted to the hospitals due to this variant were mostly unvaccinated. The Delta variant of COVID-19 was first identified in India and later spread throughout the world. In the history of COVID-19, this variant has led to the highest number of deaths.

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(Dr. A. Sharma, PharmD, is a licensed pharmacist and a medical writer with 10 years of clinical experience. He strives to empower patients to understand their medications so that they become better healthcare advocates.)


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