Five symptoms of new Fornax Covid strain now second largest variant in US

Omicron: GP explains ‘overwhelming’ science behind vaccines

In the early days of the pandemic many of us became accustomed to looking out for the most common symptoms of Covid such as a persistent cough and a loss of taste and smell.

However, since then the virus has continued to mutate.

This, coupled with the introduction of vaccines, means the signs of infection we might experience now are slightly different.

In the last few months a number of new variants of the disease have been recorded with some experts voicing fears that this could result in a surge in cases in the UK.

One of the newest strains to be recognised by health bodies is the FL.1.5.1 variant – nicknamed “Fornax” by biologist and Covid tracker T. Ryan Gregory.

READ MORE Doctor shares three symptoms of Covid Eris variant you need to know

But what is the Fornax strain?

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fornax accounts for 13.3 per cent of all Covid cases in the US.

In the week leading up to August 22, cases of FL.1.5.1 almost doubled as it accounted for around seven percent of infections in the week prior, CBS News reported.

This makes it the second most prevalent strain in the country, below the EG.5 strain – also known as Eris.

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The Eris strain has also been detected in the UK and is thought to be one of the driving forces behind a recent spike in cases, despite there being no reports of Fornax in the UK yet.

Both Eris and Fornax are descendants of the highly contagious Omicron strain – or XBB variant.

They share a mutation known as F456L which, CBS News states, is helping them spread more rapidly than other virus siblings.


Due to the link with each other the signs of Fornax are thought to be the same as symptoms of Eris.

These will also be similar to those caused by Omicron.

According to the ZOE Health Study, which tracks Covid symptoms, the most common side effects of Omicron are:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (mild or severe)
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat.

The Times of India has reported that Fornax could also cause a cough with or without phlegm, and a blocked nose.

While it is no longer mandatory to self-isolate if infected it is still advised that you try to prevent the virus spreading further.

If you experience symptoms and/or test positive for Covid the NHS recommends staying home and trying to avoid contact with others for five days if possible.

If someone you know is classed as vulnerable to Covid you should try to avoid contact for 10 days.

Keeping your house ventilated by opening windows and wearing a mask in shared spaces can also help limit the spread if you live with other people.

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