Pirola, a variant of the Omicron Covid-19 strain, took root in the UK in August.
Its presence led the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to move vaccine dates forward for millions in September over worries it was more mutated than previous strains.
So far, the variant hasn’t caused a dramatic uptick in hospitalisations, and your immune system should still be able to recognise and respond to the disease. Pirola can also be detected by a lateral flow test.
An approved Covid-19 test is the best way to check for the disease. But interestingly, medical experts have noticed that Pirola can have a unique effect on patients’ faces which is not seen with other Covid-19 variants or colds.
Any other signs?
Other than a red rash that might appear on your face and itchy, irritated eyes, Pirola has other distinctive symptoms, like diarrhoea and fatigue.
Some other symptoms of the condition include:
- Aches and pains
- A continuous cough
- Change in taste/smell
- A runny nose
- A sore throat.
Health minister Maria Caulfield said that “it is absolutely vital the most vulnerable groups receive a vaccine to strengthen their immunity over winter to protect themselves and reduce pressure on the NHS”.
And Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “Viruses mutate often and at random, and it is not unexpected that new variants will continue to arise as the pandemic goes on, particularly while the case rate remains high… it should serve as objective evidence that this pandemic is not over.”
She added: “The public health advice is the same for all current variants. Get vaccinated and, for those eligible, come forward for your third or booster dose as appropriate as soon as you are called.
“Continue to exercise caution. Wear a mask in crowded spaces and, when meeting people indoors, open windows and doors to ventilate the room. If you have symptoms take a PCR test and isolate at home until you receive a negative result.”