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  • As Eris rises, CDC sees no shift in COVID variants

    Author: AAP

Currently spreading COVID-19 variants such as EG.5 or Eris, do not represent a major shift and updated vaccines in September will offer protection, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

"Right now, what we're seeing with the changes in the viruses, they're still susceptible to our vaccine, they're still susceptible to our medicines, they're still picked up by the tests," CDC director Dr. Mandy Cohen said in a podcast interview with In the Bubble.

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"We're seeing small changes that are what I would call subtypes of what we've seen before."

Updated vaccines should be available by mid- to late September, she said.

COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers have created new versions of their vaccine, which were updated to target the so-called XBB.1.5 subvariant that was dominant earlier this year in order to more closely resemble the circulating virus.

"We anticipate that they are going to be available for most folks by the third or fourth week of September," Cohen said. The vaccines still need to be authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration and the CDC needs to make its recommendations, she said.

"We are likely to see this as a recommendation as an annual COVID shot just like we have an annual flu shot."

Pfizer/BioNTech SE, Moderna and Novavax have all said they expect to have supplies of the updated vaccine ready for the roll out this autumn.

The World Health Organization (WHO) started tracking Eris more than two weeks ago when a sudden rise in the number of people testing positive caused concern. Eris is the fasting-growing COVID-19 subvariant in the US, estimated to be responsible for around 17 per cent of current COVID cases, according to the CDC.


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