Irish health officials have reported an almost 100% increase in the number of confirmed cases of the new Covid-19 variant, reports The Mirror.
Last week, Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Center (HPSC) reported 126 cases of the strain known as EG.5.
This is more than double the 64 cases confirmed two weeks ago on August 11, an increase of 96.875%.
HPSC said the Eris variant has become more common since June and appears to be more contagious than previously circulating variants. He added that there is no evidence that this strain makes the disease worse.
It warned that it “may continue to spread globally over the coming months”.
In a statement issued yesterday, it said: “Since mid-June 2023, the EG.5 lineage (XBB.1.9.2 sublineage) has emerged in several parts of the world in increasing numbers and it may continue to spread globally over the coming months. It was added to the WHO list of variants of interest on August 9th 2023, and classified by the UKHSA as a designated variant on July 31st 2023,” reports The Mirror.
It Continues: “The EG.5 lineage appears to have a growth advantage compared to other currently circulating variants which is thought to be due to a combination of immune escape associated with the presence of the F456L mutation and waning immunity in the population. There is no evidence to date of increased disease severity or additional public health risks compared to other currently circulating lineages,” reports The Mirror.
“To date in Ireland there have been 126 Covid cases confirmed as infected with EG.5 or sublineages. Of these cases, 62 (49.2%) were associated with outbreaks in hospital or healthcare settings. The lineage has increased in prevalence since week 26 2023 and between weeks 28 and 32 2023 was the second most predominant lineage in Ireland accounting for 28.5% of sequences in this time period,” reports The Mirror.
The ruling comes as Irish health officials monitor another new form of Covid, called Pirola, which is spreading across parts of the world, including the UK.
The BA.2.86 strain has 36 mutations that distinguish it from the currently dominant XBB.1.5 variant, which experts say is a cause for concern.
HPSC confirmed that it has not yet been identified in Ireland.
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