Experts have previously warned that Eris and Pirola aren’t the only variants we might be seeing this winter and right on cue reports of two new strains are circulating.

The first one is an Omicron spin-off, known as HV.1, that has cemented itself as the dominant strain in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr Chris Papadopoulos, Principal Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Bedfordshire, explained that HV.1 seems to be “more transmissible”, but it hasn’t shown the capability of evading vaccine protection or causing more serious illness.

The other new variant, JN.1, is a descendant of Pirola and has recently been found in the UK, US, Iceland, Portugal and Spain.

The Omicron spin-off has been described as much more immune evasive than its “parents”.

While CDC officials said they are still “learning” about JN.1, it seems to carry mutations that might help it avoid detection by the immune system, according to Dr Papadopoulos.

Therefore, the public health expert recommended remaining “vigilant” and “observant” of the following symptoms.

“The symptoms to watch for with the HV.1 and JN.1 variants largely mirror those we’ve become familiar with throughout the pandemic,” the public health expert said.

Symptoms of HV.1

The professor recommended looking out for the following Covid HV.1 signs:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Tiredness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose.

Symptoms of JN.1

Dr Papadopoulos explained that the Omicron spin-off causes the symptoms described above plus some additional signs.

He said: “With JN.1, additional symptoms such as diarrhoea and headaches have been noted.”

While the signs the professor outlined can ring alarm bells, there’s still much unknown about these strains.

Dr Papadopoulos said: “There’s no evidence yet of new or unique symptoms linked to these variants.

“It’s essential for everyone, especially those at higher risk, to be observant of the symptoms [we are aware of].”

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