November 30, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

COVID-19: Eris strain, long-covid syndrome and winter forecast

The management of the coronavirus and the new variant of Eris was announced by former Deputy Minister of Health Mina Gaga.

“From now on, we must think about covid the same way we think about the flu, which we have learned to live with. Created “herd immunity”. In addition, we vaccinate people at high risk every year, the same with Covid,” said Mrs Gaga.

She also stated that “based on the instructions, you no longer need to have a negative test to leave the house if you have Covid. However, we must always take care of the elderly who have problems but the test is not mandatory to leave the house“.

In addition, Ms. Gaga explained that “the elderly must always be careful about all infections, wearing a mask has remained mandatory only in nursing units.”

As for the new covid strain “Eris” (παραλλαγή Eris), the official said that “it is still being studied.” According to her, in Greece, cases of this variant do not exceed 20% of all cases. “It’s being monitored, but it’s not a cause for concern, at least for now,” she said.

A new variant of the EG.5 coronavirus, which received the unofficial name “Eris” (after the dwarf planet of the solar system, named, in turn, in honor of the ancient Greek goddess of discord and chaos), was identified in February 2023 in China. On August 9, WHO called eris “an option of interest” and asked the health authorities of countries around the world to monitor the situation and collect statistics. According to the WHO, the wave of eris has already covered over 50 countries, including the US, UK, China, South Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, France, Spain and Portugal.

EG.5 is another sub-variant (or variety) of the well-known omicron strain that has been sweeping the world since November 2021 and continues to mutate.

The WHO believes that, despite the high speed of its spread and the ability to overcome immune defenses, eris does not pose a particular threat at the global level, because this variant, judging by the available data, although more contagious, does not cause more severe disease than other omicron variants now circulating.

“It is possible that eris will cause a higher wave of covid cases and related consequences, such as an increase in the number of hospitalizations and the number of cases of long covid, but at the moment there is no reason to think that this wave will be worse than previous waves this year,” — noted, in particular, Professor Christina Pagel (Christina Pagel) from University College London, quoted by The Guardian.

Eris seems to able to evade attacks of antibodies developed in people during previous infections and vaccinations.

This could mean that Eris can be contracted by those who have been ill and vaccinated. That is, the covid wave caused by eris may take longer to reach its peak, and therefore last longer than usual.Pagel suggests.

As for the symptoms of eris infection, they are no different from the symptoms that other variants of the coronavirus cause – fever, cough, loss of strength, sore throat and muscles, headache, shortness of breath. In some cases, loss of the sense of taste and smell.


According to Ms. Gaga, there will be no special problems this winter. “We just need common sense and elementary caution, not to lock ourselves at home, not to wear masks everywhere all the time,” she stressed.

Regarding vaccination, Ms Gaga said that updated vaccines are pending, as is done for influenza, noting that the recommendation would be for high-risk populations.

When asked about Long-Covid syndrome, she said that the most common long term side effect is fatiguewhen patients experience “confusional thinking”. “Many people have some kind of long-term symptoms,” the specialist noted, referring to symptoms that are already so familiar to everyone, such as loss of smell, which affects the quality of life.

Speaking of more serious conditions, she focused on myocarditis and cardiomyopathy, noting, however, that “it doesn’t happen all that often.” Further, the Deputy Minister said that doctors of many specialties are monitoring patients with Covid, but the Long-Covid syndrome (long-lasting covid) is not always associated with a severe course of the disease.

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