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Montevideo, May 20th 2024 - 09:52 UTC



Sanitary authorities warn of new Covid-19 variant

Monday, August 7th 2023 - 10:28 UTC
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”We urge governments to maintain and not dismantle the systems they built for Covid-19,″ Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said ”We urge governments to maintain and not dismantle the systems they built for Covid-19,″ Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said

Sanitary authorities in the United Kingdom (UK) launched a warning over the new coronavirus version known as EG.5.1 gaining ground, although Arcturus XBB.1.16 remains the most dominant variant, it was reported. The new sublineage is also responsible for 17% of cases in the United States.

Both Omicron descendants, Arcturus accounts for 39.4% of all cases while the new type, also referred to as “Eris,” represents 14.6% of infections, making it the second most common in the country. In recent weeks, coronavirus rates have increased significantly, with a jump from 3.7% to 5.4% in respiratory cases. Hospital admissions also increased and stood at 1.97 per 100,000 population, up from 1.17 per 100,000 in the previous UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) report. Older age groups, such as those over 85, show the highest hospital admission rates and these increased to 20.49 per 100,000 from 9.8 per 100,000.

UKHSA's Chief Immunization Officer Mary Ramsay said they continue to see an increase in coronavirus cases in this week's report. “We have also seen a small increase in hospitalization rates in most age groups, particularly among the elderly,” she noted while admitting that overall hospitalization levels remain extremely low. “We are not currently seeing a similar increase in ICU admissions. We will continue to monitor these rates closely,” Ramsay also said.

In the United States, Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, a biomedical sciences research center based in California, noted, ”The EG.5 variant continues to show strong growth in the latest US genomic surveillance, rising from 11% to 17% in the last 2 weeks. FL.1.5.1 is also on the rise while (the Omicron) XBB sublineages are on the decline.”

Hence, according to the latest updated data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), EG.5.1 became last week the dominant subvariant in the United States, dethroning the XBB subvariants.

With SARS-CoV-2 constantly evolving and accumulating mutations in its genetic code over time, it is expected that new variants will continue to emerge; some briefly while others may spread and supplant previously existing variants.

Meanwhile, EG.5 is increasing globally. Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as a “variant under control,” which is one step below a “variant of concern.” According to WHO, the global prevalence of EG.5 nearly doubled from mid-June to mid-July. So far, it has been documented in 45 countries.

”WHO continues to recommend that people at high risk wear masks in crowded places, get booster vaccinations when recommended, and ensure adequate ventilation indoors. And we urge governments to maintain and not dismantle the systems they built for Covid-19,″ WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

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