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Understanding the EG.5 Subvariant Character, The Omicron Mutation Dominating COVID-19 Infections Globally

Following a number of other countries, cases of COVID-19 infection in the country have increased again. The government is wary of the Christmas 2023 and New Year 2024 holidays where there will be a lot of movement of people, potentially triggering a spike in infections caused by virus Corona this EG.5 subvariant. So what is the character of the EG.5 subvariant and what is the level of transmission?

Community Asked to Complete COVID-19 Vaccination Dose

Approaching the long Christmas and New Year holidays (Nataru), the public is asked to immediately complete the COVID-19 vaccination dose to prevent the risk of COVID-19. This appeal is contained in a circular letter from the Indonesian Ministry of Health as of December 15 2023. Even those who have never been vaccinated at all are asked to immediately get the COVID-19 vaccination.

“Immediately complete the dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, immediately go to the nearest health service facility at the Community Health Center or Port Health Office, don’t delay,” said Director General of Prevention and Control (P2P) Dr. Maxi Rein Rondonuwu.

Apart from vaccination, as a preventive measure, people are asked to wear masks again when they are sick or when they are in public places, especially those at risk of transmitting COVID-19, always wash their hands and seek treatment immediately if they are sick, especially if they have symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, runny nose and shortness of breath. breath. If the test result is positive for COVID-19, the patient is asked to immediately isolate themselves.

The increase in COVID-19 is dominated by the Corona Virus Subvariant EG.5

The appeal is to immediately complete the vaccination dose to be aware of the potential for a spike in COVID-19 cases in line with the movement of people who want to enjoy the long Christmas holiday. This follows the number of COVID-19 infection cases in Indonesia which has crept up since week 41 (period 8-14 October 2023). As of Friday (15/12) data showed there were 336 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This number is an increase from previous days.

The increase in cases of COVID-19 infection this year is dominated by the EG.5 subvariant Corona virus, which is a mutation of the Omicron variant. The good news is, although cases have increased, this has not caused an increase in hospitalizations and even deaths.

This means that the EG.5 subvariant causes an increase in cases because it is easier to infect, but does not cause a change in severity.

What the EG Subvariant Characters Look Like. 5?

The World Health Organization (WHO) designated the EG.5 subvariant asvariants of interest (VOI) on August 9, after first being designated asvariants under monitoring (VUM) on July 19. The appearance of the EG.5 subvariant itself was first reported on February 17, 2023.

The EG.5 subvariant is a lineage of the XBB.1.9.2 subvariant (Omicron virus mutation) which has the characteristic of carrying an additional F456L amino acid mutation in the spike protein.

With these characteristics, this subvariant has the advantage of a high growth rate compared to other subvariants that circulate together. Another advantage is that this subvariant can evade the immune system. Even though the growth rate is high, the health risk to society is relatively low at the global level.

The Most Widely Circulating EG.5 Subvariant in the World

Currently the EG.5 subvariant is the subvariant that dominates at the global level, namely 51.6 percent of 93 countries since week 44 (30 October-5 November 2023). This figure has increased compared to week 40 (2-8 October 2023), namely when the global prevalence of EG.5 only reached 47 percent.

The three countries that contributed the most to COVID-19 cases caused by the EG.5 subvariant were the United States (24.8 percent), Canada (12.6 percent) and China (10.6 percent). Then followed by countries that contributed less than 10 percent, such as:

  • Japan (7.0 percent)
  • South Korea (6.3 percent)
  • England (6.3 percent)
  • France (5.5 percent)
  • Spain (4.0 percent)
  • Singapore (2.7 percent)
  • Sweden (2.4 percent)
  • Australia (2.0 percent)
  • Italy (1.9 percent)
  • Denmark (1.4 percent)
  • Belgium (1.2 percent)
  • Germany (1.2 percent)
  • Netherlands (1.0 percent)
  • New Zealand (0.9 percent).

Symptoms of EG.5 Subvariant Infection

The symptoms that arise when someone is infected with the EG.5 subvariant are not much different from other Omicron strain derivatives. Tends to infect the upper respiratory tract, causing symptoms such as:

However, for people aged 65 years and over or who have a weak immune system, EG.5 infection has a higher risk of transmitting the virus to the lower respiratory tract. This condition can cause severe disease symptoms.

Symptoms of severe lower respiratory tract infections to pay attention to:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Impaired consciousness
  • Skin, nails, lips are pale, blue or grayish in color.

Is the Existing COVID-19 Vaccine Able to Prevent EG Infection. 5?

The EG.5 subvariant is still closely related to the XBB variant, which is also a derivative variantOmicron, where the vaccine was rolled out in the fall. So it is hoped that there will be a match between the XBB vaccine and the EG.5 subvariant and other XBB variants in circulation.

“The two strains, EG.5 and XBB.1.5, are not identical, but they are quite similar,” said Scott Roberts, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Yale Medicine. He also added, because the two strains still have genetic similarities, people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster will at least still feel protection from the booster.

Existing antiviral drugs, called Roberts, can also provide resistance to EG.5. As long as, he continued, detection of EG.5 is carried out quickly (as early as possible) and accurately.


WHO emphasized that the public health risk posed by EG.5 infection is considered low at the global level. Until now there have been no reports of changes in the severity of COVID-19 disease caused by infection with the EG.5 subvariant.

This is indicated by the hospitalization rate remaining lower than the previous wave of COVID-19. Meanwhile, the hospitalization cases found did not have a direct relationship to EG.5 infection.

The reason why this variant is most commonly found globally is because the EG.5 subvariant has the advantage of growing quickly and being able to trick the immune system better than other variants currently circulating.

This is information such as the character of the EG.5 subvariant and the level of risk of transmission. Even though the health risks are still low, you still shouldn’t be careless. As advised by the government, immediately complete the COVID-19 vaccination and booster to prevent transmission of COVID-19, especially that caused by the EG.5 subvariant.

Immediately consult a doctor if you experience health problems and notice a number of symptoms that should be suspected of being a COVID-19 infection.Complete consultation regarding COVID-19 atClinic Against COVID-19with our doctor partners. Come on, clickthis link to download the Good Doctor application!

#Covid#Covid-19#Corona mutation#Covid-19 mutation#Virus Corona EG.5#Virus COVID-19


1.WHO, diakses 19 Desember 2023. Updated Risk Evaluation for EG.5 and its sublineages, 21 November 2023 (PDF).

  1. Sehatnegeriku, accessed 19 December 2023. Warning of Soaring COVID-19 Cases, Ministry of Health Instructs Regional Governments and Health Facilities to Be Ready.

3.Sehatnegeriku, accessed 19 December 2023. People are advised to complete the COVID-19 vaccination dose.

4.Yale Medicine, diakses 19 Desember 2023. What to Know About EG.5 (Eris)—the Latest Coronavirus Strain.

5.Public Health, diakses 19 Desember 2023. What to Know About the EG.5 Variant.

6.CDC, diakses 21 Desember 2023.Symptoms of COVID-19.

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