The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the new variant EG.5 of Covid-19 can increase cases globallyalthough there is no scientific evidence that at the moment it is producing a increase in hospitalizations.
Through a report published this Tuesday, the United Nations international health organization has described as “low” the public health risk posed by EG.5, a lineage descended from XBB.1.9.2 that was first reported on February 17. It was designated as a variant under surveillance on July 19 and today the WHO has classified it as a variant of interest.
“Although EG.5 has shown higher prevalence, growth advantage, and immune escape properties, no change in disease severity to date. Although concurrent increases in the proportion of hospitalizations for GD.5 and Covid-19 (lower than in previous waves) have been observed in countries such as Japan and South Korea, No associations have been established between these hospitalizations and GD.5“, the organization has highlighted.
However, the WHO also points out that, due to its growth advantage and immune escape characteristics, EG.5 “may cause an increase in the incidence of cases and become dominant in some countries or even globally.”
EG.5 carries an additional F456L mutation in the spike protein compared to its parent subvariants, XBB.1.9.2 and XBB.1.5. Within the EG.5 lineage, the EG.5.1 subvariant has an additional Q52H mutation in the spike and represents 88 percent of the available sequences for EG.5 and its descendant lineages.