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New COVID-19 variant EG.5 is on the rise, dominant in the US

New COVID variant already the dominant US strain

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — EG.5, a new COVID-19 variant, is now the dominant strain in the U.S.

The World Health Organization sent out a warning for the new strain last week, which is also known as “Eris.”

The WHO says Eris is a “variant of interest” and will be monitored for mutations that could make it more dangerous.

The organization said the current evidence suggests a low risk to public health at a global level, similar to other variants currently circulating.

CNN reports that EG.5 is causing about 17% of new COVID-19 cases in the country, compared with 16% for the next most common lineage, XBB.1.16, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In May, the WHO said COVID is “an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.”

The WHO says EG.5 has shown increased prevalence, growth advantage and immune escape properties, and there have been no reported changes in disease severity. 

Eris’ properties suggest it may become a dominant strain, potentially around the world, according to the WHO. 

Data from the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data suggests the largest number of Eris cases are in China, followed by the United States, Canada, Japan, and South Korea.

According to the CDC, Eris has already become the dominant strain in the United States, accounting for 17.3% of all cases last week.

Former U.S. surgeon general and WISH-TV medical expert Dr. Jerome Adams joined News 8 for a Health Spotlight to discuss the new COVID-19 strain. That conversation can be viewed here.

CDC: Covid-19 hospitalizations

The CDC suggests people stay up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations.

CDC: What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines

CDC: About COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. are effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and dying. As with other vaccine-preventable diseases, you are best protected best from COVID-19 when you stay up to date with the recommended vaccinations.

COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S.:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech.
  • Moderna.
  • Novavax.
  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J/Janssen).

CDC: Updated bivalent and monovalent COVID-19 Vaccines

Updated vaccines are sometimes called bivalent vaccines. The updated vaccines are called “updated” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.

Two COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, have developed updated COVID-19 vaccines.