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  • Writer's pictureTaher Tarraf

The new Corona mutant is constantly changing and evading immunity

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

A recent medical report has brought to light an alarming depiction of the novel "EG.5" variant of the coronavirus, underscoring its ongoing mutations and potential to evade immune defenses.

Issued by the Journal of the British Medical Association on a recent Thursday, the report vividly portrays the dynamic nature of the "EG.5" variant, often referred to as "iris," signifying its growing prevalence on a global scale.

Researchers have pinpointed swift mutations within the "EG.5" variant, enhancing its capacity to outmaneuver the immune system. These mutations could provide insight into recent surges in hospitalizations across several countries, including Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The World Health Organization's risk assessment has stressed that the omicron EG.5 variant displays characteristics of escalated proliferation, advantageous growth, and immune evasion. However, thus far, no alterations in the severity of the disease linked to this variant have been reported.

Statistics from the World Health Organization reveal that the "EG.5" variant constituted 17.4% of sequential test samples worldwide in the week concluding on July 23. This marks a substantial increase from the 7.6% recorded four weeks earlier. Notably, 88% of these samples were attributed to a secondary variant termed 'EG.5.1,' identifiable by an additional mutation.

China witnessed a noticeable surge in infections attributed to EG.5 and its sub-variants, with the figures escalating from 24.7% of infections in the third week of June to 45% within a month.

Both the United States and the United Kingdom have also reported the propagation of the new variant. EG.5 and its sub-variants accounted for 17.3% of infections in the US at the start of August and 14.6% in the UK.

Hospitalizations stemming from EG.5 infections in the US surged by 40% from the nadir reached in June, while the UK observed a 76% increase between July 21 and August 4. Nevertheless, these numbers remained relatively low in comparison to previous infection peaks.

Encouragingly, vaccines continue to display efficacy against the fresh variant, a sentiment affirmed by Mandy Cohen, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cohen reassured, "Our array of tools remains effective as the virus adapts, and our testing capabilities remain adept at detection."

Typical symptoms of the "EG.5" variant among adults encompass fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, body and muscle aches, fatigue, and diarrhea. Despite the challenges presented by this variant, the medical community remains poised to manage its impact through evolving strategies and proficient tools.

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