Professor shares five ‘most common’ symptoms of latest Covid variants to spot

Pirola and Eris are the two latest Covid variants to join the ever-growing list of Omicron subvariants, driving up cases in the UK.

Pirola, also known as BA.2.86, appeared in the UK on August 18 and has caused an outbreak at a care home in Norfolk since.

Health officials have so far confirmed 34 cases of the Omicron spin-off that is marked by a large number of mutations in its spike protein.

On the other hand, Eris, also known as EG.5.1, was first classified as a variant by the World Health Organisation on August 9.

Eris is now the second most prevalent strain in the UK and the most common variant in the US.

With Covid cases in the UK on the rise, spoke to Bobbi Pritt, Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic, about the key symptoms to spot.

Despite the emergence of new variants, the professor explained that the key symptoms “remain the same”.

Therefore, she recommended looking out for these “most common” Covid symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue.

However, she added that people infected with the new variants can confuse the symptoms with other respiratory illnesses.

Pritt said: “Many infected people will feel like they have a cold, whereas others that have fever and body aches may feel like they have the flu.”

In a previous interview with, Dr Johannes Uys, a GP at Broadgate General Practice, recommended doing a Covid lateral flow test to rule out the virus if you are unsure what’s triggering your symptoms.

This is also highlighted by the fact that tell-tale Covid signs like loss of taste or smell are “less common”, according to Pritt.

The professor added it’s currently not clear which of these two latest strains could gain dominance in the UK.

She said: “We know that Eris has become quite common, and its mutation in the spike protein may make it more likely to evade immunity acquired from vaccination. 

“Pirola also has numerous mutations, but the impact of those mutations is not well-known yet.

“It’s hard to predict which will be the predominant strain, as new strains continue to emerge.”


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