Monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 variants in Ireland
COVID-19 variant EG.5.1 (known as “Eris”) is circulating in Ireland. It appears to be increasing in numbers at a higher rate than other recent variants. It currently shows no evidence of causing more severe infection but people are still advised to follow COVID-19 prevention measures.
EG.5 is also increasing globally though is not yet the most dominant strain. Other variants that share some of the same mutations are also being monitored globally for changes in numbers and any associated changes in clinical presentation. As EG.5 and other currently circulating Omicron variants are related to the upcoming booster vaccine strain, there is expected to be good protection given by the booster.
A new SARS-CoV-2 variant under monitoring, BA.2.86 was reported by World Health Organization. This variant has been detected in very low numbers in a small number of countries. BA.2.86 is associated with a number of mutations. Based on the current limited available information, BA.2.86 is not reported to be associated with increased growth rate or disease severity. No cases of BA.2.86 have been detected in Ireland to date and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre are closely monitoring the situation.
This analysis of circulating COVID-19 variants in Ireland is only possible due to the continued sequencing work by the National SARS-CoV-2 Whole Genome Sequencing Programme. If you want to read more, you can find variant reports prepared by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre at https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/surveillance/summaryofcovid-19virusvariantsinireland/