New sub-variant of Covid-19 detected in Argentina
Argentine health authorities have confirmed the detection of a new Eris subvariant of the Covid-19 virus in the South American country. Cases have been announced in Cordoba and in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA). EG.5, a sublineage of the rapidly expanding Omicron variant, has already been found in the US, Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia.
The Ómicron EG.5 subvariant, also known as Eris, was identified from the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA) genome sequencing by Proyecto País, a genome surveillance consortium supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Symptoms of subvariant EG.5 are sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, cough, headache, and hoarse voice. It can also cause muscle pain and impaired sense of smell. Difficulty breathing and fever are less common.
“To date, two separate cases of EG.5 variant of interest have been identified in Argentina, one of which is associated with respiratory virus surveillance in outpatient monitoring units in the province of Córdoba, and the other with residence in the city of Buenos. Aires. The cases were identified during genomic surveillance conducted by the Federal Network of Genomics and Bioinformatics,” epidemiologists from the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
The number of Covid-19 cases in Argentina has been on the rise since last month. Last week, a weekly average of 109 cases were reported, but more cases can be reported once all data is uploaded to the surveillance system.
“Each time a new subvariant emerged, the incidence curve increased significantly, much more so than because it was winter,” said Jorge Aliaga of the National University of Herlingham.
The EG.5 subvariant was identified in China in February 2023. It was first detected in April in the United States, where it already causes about 17% of new Covid-19 cases, with 16% being XBB.1.16. .
So far, 52 countries have identified cases of Covid-19 with Eris, which is derived from the Omicron XBB.1.9.2 variant, but with a mutation in an additional Spike Q52H protein that helps it evade antibodies produced by the immune system. to variants and previous vaccines.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on August 9 that the EG.5 option was a concern. There are fears that Eris will cause an increase in the incidence and become dominant in some countries or even around the world.