COVID Variant EG.5: What You Need To Know
The latest COVID-19 variant to arise, EG.5, also known as “Eris”, has recently gained attention. Dr. Jeannie Kenkare, our founder and Chief Medical Officer, walks through what we know about the variant.
What is EG.5?
EG.5, also known as Eris, is a lineage within the Omicron variant group and is considered a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization(WHO). At the time of this post, the variant is currently the dominant strain of COVID cases in the United States.
Should I be worried?
As we have learned, COVID is a virus that will continue to mutate and new variants will continue to arise. The medical community expects this and we are prepared for it. At this point EG.5 does not appear to be any more contagious or severe than previous Omicron variants we have seen, so this should not raise any alarms. Our team at PhysicianOne will continue to update our patients on new findings.
Are the symptoms different?
Symptoms associated with this variant are similar to those experienced with other COVID strains, including cough, shortness of breath, fever, loss oftaste or smell.
Vaccine Efficacy and Immunity
Reformulated boosters are currently being manufactured and are expected to be a better match with EG.5 and other circulating variants when they are released later this fall. I am excited about the release of these updated vaccines encourage eligible people to get the booster to help prevent severe illness and complications from COVID infection – even if they have received other vaccine formulations or have had recent infection.
The same measures that we have been familiar with all along continue to be effective to prevent infection from the EG.5 variant and other strains:
- Vaccination: Stay up-to-date on boosters. Vaccination remains one of the most effective tools in combating COVID-19 and its variants. Get the new booster when available this fall.
- Have Symptoms? Get tested! You’ve heard us say it before: When in doubt, check it out. All PhysicianOne locations offer rapid PCR testing, including a combined Flu/COVID test. You’ll have lab results in 20 minutes and for those who qualify for COVID treatment options we can get you started on treatment right away.
- Hygiene Practices: Maintain proper hygiene through regular washing of hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water or hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol. This should also include avoiding touching face and surfaces which can transmit and harbor the virus.
- Mask-Wearing: For patients with compromised immune systems, I still recommend wearing good and effective masks in crowded indoor settings and around people who are not close associates, such as public transportation.
- Stay Home When Sick: If you’re experiencing respiratory symptoms, stay home until you’re feeling better and symptoms subside. This remains one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of disease.