The latest government data suggests that Covid variant Eris, also known as EG.5.1, remains one of the dominant strains in England.

The report showed that the Omicron spin-off was responsible for 33.7 percent of cases in the area, which was the second largest number after 34.1 percent that came from “other” strains.

The other Omicron spin-off BA.2.86, dubbed Pirola, isn’t included in this data. However, previous reports also suggested that this strain continues to spread throughout the UK.

Worryingly, Dr Nathan Goodyear, Covid expert and medical director at Brio Medical, warned that these numbers could be underestimated.

People who start experiencing the tell-tale signs tend to turn to lateral flow tests that don’t differentiate between Covid variants.

Dr Goodyear said: “Current available over-the-counter Covid test kits do not differentiate between Covid variants.

“As a result, a true and accurate reflection of the Covid variants prevalence is lacking with likely undercalculation of the current variant load and prevalence.”

Surge in Covid cases is to be expected in the colder months

While the variant data may not correctly reflect the situation, rising numbers are to be expected during this time of the year, according to the doctor.

He said: “What we are seeing is the normal annual and seasonal impact of new viral variants, their associated mutations, and their impact on the general population as a whole.

“Each new year brings forth new viral mutations to continue the mutagenic evolutionary cycle.

“This has been the historical case for influenza viral variants, and will be the same with Covid variants.”

The doctor explained that Eris and Pirola follow the same path of other viruses that came before them, contributing to their current status as dominant.

Eris and Pirola don’t seem to pose a greater risk

The good news is that the current number of recorded cases suggests there’s no increased risk posed by these new variants.

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