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Is COVID variant EG.5 a threat to an Indian citizen?

The World Health Organization has allergized and called upon countries to share COVID-19 data and said that the EG.5 variant has increased transmissibility but, at least for the time being, is not seen as having more public health risks in India.

Variant EG.5, the newest subtype of Omicron, which is causing a surge in cases across parts of the world, has been in India since May 2023, the government has said. The variant was first traced in Maharashtra in May.

However, the variant has so far not been a cause of concern in India, though the World Health Organization has classified the strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as a “variant of interest”, saying it does not seem to pose more of a threat or affect public health in India.

Talking to India Today, Dr. NK Arora, Head of the Government’s COVID Advisory Task Group, said, “It is not of concern at all. It has been there in India for over three months, and there has been no upsurge of cases or hospitalization.”

He also said that genomic surveillance is ‘sensitive enough to pick up any new variants appearing in our ecosystem promptly and effectively ‘.

Dr. Akshay Budhraja, Senior Consultant of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Aakash Healthcare, said to India Today, “Covid ERIS is a variant of Omicron that is more transmissible and fexible than the previous variant of COVID, which is why it is a variant of interest.”

“It can evade or lose immunity against COVID and can infect a large number of people. If the numbers increase, so will the mortality and morbidity rates,” he added.

“The best precaution is to follow COVID-appropriate behavior or precautions when suffering from these flu-like symptoms and getting tested and diagnosed,” the doctor added.

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