COVID EG.5 variant symptoms doctors are now seeing

The coronavirus is on the rise again in much of the United States, where EG.5 — a subvariant of the virus — now accounts for the majority of COVID-19 cases in the country, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Over the last month or so we have observed a steady but slow increase in the total number of COVID cases. “It’s a trend that’s pretty consistent across the country,” he said Andrew PekoszProfessor and Vice Chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

EG.5, also called Eris, could currently be responsible for many of the cases, but according to Pekosz, subvariants that have been around for quite some time, such as XBB.1.16, are also responsible for the upsurge.

“In the US, we still see a lot of infections with other members of the XBB variant family,” Pekosz said. (XBB is a group of the Omicron variant of COVID that kept mutating to create these new COVID strains.) “In fact, EG.5 is a member of this XBB family. It’s caught just enough mutations that we call it a different set of letters,” Pekosz noted.

Additionally, dr Kristin Englundan infectious disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, said another strain called FL.1.5.1 is also causing cases to rise in the Northeast. according to CDC. As for hospital staysThey are also increasing but remain low overall compared to previous periods of the pandemic.

While there is no need to panic, now is the time to stay one step ahead of this virus before you – or your loved ones – get infected. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms of EG.5, along with some basics about the subvariant so you can protect yourself:

The symptoms of EG.5 are largely the same as previous variants. These include fatigue, fever and a dry cough.

First, keep in mind that “symptoms will vary from person to person,” Englund said.

But most people should expect the same symptoms that have been associated with COVID-19 for several years. “In most people, symptoms were mild and included a dry cough, headache, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and fatigue,” Englund said.

According to Pekosz, these symptoms can cause some people to have trouble breathing.

These symptoms are often mild and there is a reason for this: “Many of the symptoms you will see will likely be milder than we have previously reported,” Pekosz explained. “That’s probably because the population is so immune that infections seem a little less severe.”

The structure of EG.5 differs slightly from previous sub-variants.

“It found a mutation in its spike protein, and that’s the protein that the vaccine is targeting,” Pekosz said.

This might make EG.5 a little better at infecting humans and escaping immunity. “If we speculate, that could be why it’s currently more portable than other variants,” he noted.

“But the advantage it has over the existing members of the XBB family is rather small at the moment, so we are seeing increases [in cases] But they’re not massive surges like we’ve seen with waves like the first omicron wave or the delta wave before it,” Pekosz added.

In addition, EG.5 is expected to continue to respond to antiviral drugs such as Paxlovid and be registered through at-home COVID testing. “Nothing about this variant is in any way stealthy or anything. All tests and all antiviral drugs should work well against it,” said Pekosz.

EG.5, an Omicron subvariant, infects large numbers of people with COVID-19 in the United States.

valentinrussanov via Getty Images

EG.5, an Omicron subvariant, infects large numbers of people with COVID-19 in the United States.

Everyone should protect themselves and their fellow human beings.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted high-risk groups, including people over the age of 65 and those with underlying medical conditions that may put them at risk for serious illness.

“We’re very fortunate that case numbers have been low for some time, but that doesn’t mean people, particularly in these high-risk groups, shouldn’t be vigilant,” Pekosz said.

At this point you know what it takes to prevent COVID-19 infection. “First and foremost, get vaccinated and boosted,” Englund said.

A new booster vaccination will also be available in autumn. Although the details have not yet been announced, Pekosz said the vaccine will be based on the XBB family of viruses, of which EG.5 is a member.

“Personally, the vaccine is very different from previous COVID-19 vaccines that we’ve had, so I actually think it would be a good idea for a lot of people to go out and get the vaccine this fall,” Pekosz said. “It is sufficiently different from previous vaccines that immunity against the viruses currently circulating should be significantly boosted.”

Full details on who the vaccine is recommended for and when it will be available should be announced by the CDC by the fall.

“You should also follow the same precautions you would take to prevent contracting COVID and other viruses such as RSV, colds and flu,” Englund said. That means washing your hands, avoiding crowded indoor spaces, wearing a mask and staying home if you feel sick, she said.

If your test comes back positive, contact your doctor.

If you test positive for COVID, call your doctor to discuss treatment options,” Englund said. “W“We now have medicines that were not available at the beginning of the pandemic.”

Medications like Paxlovid can help reduce your risk of hospitalization, potentially reduce your risk of long-term illness with COVID, and help you recover faster. “But they must be taken within five days of the onset of symptoms to have the greatest effect,” she explained.

Whether you have mild symptoms or a more severe infection, it’s important to talk to your doctor as soon as possible to make sure you’re doing everything right to get well – and to protect those around you.

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