Covid-19: This little-known variant is currently on the rise, here's what we know about 'Fornax'

As news on the Eris and Pirola variant dominates, let's take a look at another lesser-known variant which has been rising infections in the US.

This little-known Covid variant is currently on the rise, what is 'Fornax'?
© Fusion Medical Animation/UNSPLASH
This little-known Covid variant is currently on the rise, what is 'Fornax'?

In the past few weeks, we've heard of not one but two Covid-19 variants that have been driving new waves of infections—the Eris and Pirola variant. But did you know that there's a third variant that has been spreading in the US?

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FL.1.5.1, better known as Fornax, has seldom been talked about in media, in comparison to its counterparts. However, according to the CDC, it is now the second most dominant variant in the United States accounting for 13.3% of Covid-19 cases.

To give you a little perspective of how quickly the variant is spreading, in early August it was the fifth most prevalent strain.

What to know about Fornax, FL.1.5.1

Like the Eris and Pirola variant, Fornax is also a strain of the original Omicron variant which caused havoc in late 2021 and early 2022. As reported by Vox, Fornax and Eris share a mutation called F456L which makes it more contagious—a trait that Omicron is also known for.

While the Eris variant has made it to the World Health Organisation's list of 'variants of interest', this is not the case for Fornax. Regardless, experts have been keeping a close eye on the strain.

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Should we be worried about Fornax?

For now, we do not know how dangerous it could be but Dr Chris Papadopoulos, Principal Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Bedfordshire spoke to Express about his concerns.

He explained that the fact that the variant does share the F456L mutation is worrying, since it could make it more transmissible than other variants.

He also added that the strain is very much similar to the Eris variant, especially when it comes to symptoms:

From what we know so far, the Fornax variant (FL.1.5.1) exhibits symptoms similar to Eris and other Covid strains.

Unlike the initial Covid-19 variants, the current symptoms are more flu-like and include coughing, a sore throat, headaches, fatigue, sneezing, and muscle ache.

If you have these symptoms, NHS advises that you get tested, even if it's not a mandatory requirement, and avoid contact with others for 5 days.

Read more:Covid cases double in a month, but should you get the booster jab? Here's what experts are saying

Sources used:

Express: Professor warns new Covid variant Fornax could spread ‘more effectively' - signs to spot

CBS News: New COVID variants EG.5, FL.1.5.1 and BA.2.86 are spreading. Here's what to know.

Vox: The US has new Covid-19 variants on the rise. Meet Eris and Fornax.

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