For Monday, Aug. 7, WGN’s Dina Bair has new medical information, including:

New COVID variant emerges prominent in UK

The variant, nicknamed Eris, is a descendant of omicron.  

The World Health Organization has been monitoring it closely for two and a half weeks. The variant was first detected in the United Kingdom last Monday but now accounts for one in seven Covid cases. It’s now the UK’s second most prevalent variant.  

The World Health Organization is urging countries not to let down their guard, even though vaccines and prior infection better protect people. 

New blood donation guidelines

More gay men will be able to donate blood under new government guidelines the Red Cross is adopting beginning Monday, Aug. 7.

Restrictions on donating blood date back to the early days of the AIDS epidemic, as they were designed to protect the blood supply from HIV.

Since then, there have been advances in HIV detection, but restrictions remained and critics called them discriminatory. 

In May, the FDA eliminated most of those restrictions. 

Blood donors will be screened based on individual, risky behavior, not sexual orientation. 

There is still a barrier for people who take Prep, an FDA-approved drug proven to prevent the transmission of HIV.