So far, it was considered a “variant under observation”. “Eris” is not yet “worrying” – but is now “of interest” – at least that’s how the World Health Organization (WHO) now classifies the new corona variant EG.5.1.
“There remains a risk that a more dangerous variant will emerge, which could lead to a sudden increase in cases and deaths,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva on Wednesday. The variant was first detected on February 17, 2023 – it has now appeared in at least 51 countries.
The Robert Koch Institute has not yet reported official figures for Germany. As epidemiologist Timo Ulrichs emphasizes to FOCUS online, Eris has “very likely” already spread here. “We hardly test anymore,” he says. “And even less is sequenced, so we only have a very limited view of the infection process and the presence of the variants and subvariants of the virus here in Germany.”
Corona expert expects an increase in cases in autumn
Ulrichs expects the number of corona cases in Germans to increase in the coming months. The onset of autumn favored the transmission conditions. “The cases will increase, even if we will not see them due to the lack of widespread testing – unless the new variant causes more clinical cases that need to be treated.” Only then will the increase in corona numbers be noticeable.
So far it is unclear how sick the new corona variant “Eris” makes. Likewise, whether other variants will be added that we don’t know about today. However, Ulrichs advises: “It would be better to prepare for an unfavorable situation.”
Epidemiologist: vaccinate risk groups before autumn
With a view to autumn, Ulrichs says: “It will certainly not be as dramatic as in the first waves.” The reason he gives is the meanwhile good basic immunity in the population. But he warns: ” Members of risk groups should get a booster vaccination in good time before autumn.”
Incidentally, “Eris” is named after the ancient Greek goddess – the goddess of strife, chaos and discord.
Surf tip: All clear for EG.5 variant – Corona “virus hunters” raise the alarm about “Eris” – that is unfounded