Kuwait detects new Eris strain of Covid-19

No concerns over 'expected' discovery of latest EG.5 sub-variant of Omicron

A girl being vaccinated against Covid-19 in Kuwait last year. AFP
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Health authorities in Kuwait have confirmed that the latest strain of Covid-19 has been detected in the country.

The Eg.5 subvariant of Omicron has been rapidly spreading through the US and UK since May and while health risk is considered low, it is spreading quickly and is likely to fuel a larger wave of infections.

The Ministry of Health in Kuwait issued a social media post on Wednesday to say the variant had been detected in the country, but reassured citizens there was no need to be concerned.

As a precautionary measure, the ministry advised those with symptoms to isolate and avoid contact with others to reduce the rate of transmissions.

“The ministry, relying on initial scientific data, noted that there is no evidence indicating that this new variant is more dangerous than previously detected variants,” a statement read.

“However, it highlighted the rapid spread of the variant in certain global regions. Concurrently, the ministry affirmed the stability of health and clinical evaluation indicators within the country.

“The ministry stressed that the emergence of such mutations is anticipated and should not be a cause for alarm.”

Variant of interest

The World Health Organisation declared the Eg.5 mutation as a variant of interest, but said it had not yet displayed signs that it had any new capacities for illness.

So far, it has been reported in 51 countries.

However, those living with existing health conditions, the elderly and pregnant women have been advised to take extra precautions and avoid those displaying cold or flu-like symptoms.

Eris is thought to be responsible for about 14 per cent of new cases in the UK and about 17.3 per cent in the US, according to health authorities and research centres.

Updated booster vaccines to target previous sub-variants of Omicron should continue to offer protection against Eg.5 because of its similar viral properties.

Updated: August 16, 2023, 1:11 PM