Being a sub-lineage of Omicron variant BA.5, BF.7 has the strongest ability for infection, the shortest incubation period, and the highest potential for reinfection.
In addition to causing havoc in China, the new Covid-19 variant Omicron BF.7 has also been detected in India. India has seen four cases of the Omicron BF.7 strain in the past six months.
Two cases of this highly infectious strain have been reported in both Odisha and Gujarat. While the new coronavirus substrain has not yet spread widely, unlike in China, the Center has warned all states and union territories to exercise caution.
Continue to read about the newest Covid-19 variant, BF.7.
What is Omicron sub-variant BF.7?
The Omicron variation BA. 5’s sub-lineage BF.7 has the strongest infection potential, the shortest incubation time and the greatest ability to reinfect or infect even people who have received vaccinations.
Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre identified the initial BF.7 case in India in October. According to them, two instances from Gujarat and two from Odisha have been documented thus far.
The BF.7 variation has 4.4-fold stronger neutralisation resistance than the original Coronavirus, according to a study that was published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe. This indicates that the vaccination-induced antibodies are insufficiently potent against the pathogen.
How did the new variety come to be known as BF.7?
BA.184.108.40.206 is abbreviated as BF.7, which is a sub-variant of BA.5 Omicron. Most cases have been documented worldwide for the Omicron BA.5 variant, roughly 76.2% of all instances.
The coronavirus is evolving, and these changes can lead to a wide range of variations and subvariants. Convergent evolution is the name of this process. Names like BA.2.75.2, BF.7, and BQ.1.1 have been given to these sub-variants. These names are based on which sub-variant is descended from which variety.
Symptoms of BF.7
The latest variation exhibits symptoms such as
- Sore throat
- Runny nose and
- Coughs that are comparable to those of an upper respiratory infection.
Pneumonia is also a symptom of BF.7 Covid.
Also, some people may have stomach-related problems like diarrhoea and vomiting. Doctors advise being examined immediately if someone is exhibiting these symptoms.
Symptoms of the BF.7 Covid Variant are said to be more severe compared to other Omicron variants, as reported by few sources. In China, fever is the most common symptom that patients report.
This type can spread more quickly but may not cause any severe complications. Early detection and isolation are, therefore, absolutely essential.
Precautions to prevent BF.7
- Get a booster shot
Getting a covid booster dose immediately is advisable. Currently, the only thing that can significantly protect us from the severe symptoms of Corona infection—for which there is no cure—is vaccination.
- Social distancing
Corona is contracted by coming into contact with an infected individual. Therefore, keeping a physical distance from others is crucial to preventing the disease. The CDC advises keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from individuals in public areas to prevent infection. One can avoid catching a cough or sneeze from someone by maintaining distance.
- Staying indoors
Stay indoors to prevent going to crowded areas and contracting a corona infection.
- Wear masks
Don’t forget to put on a mask while leaving the house. This can help prevent the infection from spreading.
The mask also guards against other infections like the flu, cold and cough in addition to the coronavirus. After using the mask once, discard it. Use a mask of decent quality as well.
- Maintain cleanliness
Keep the hands clean to prevent infection. Corona can also be contracted by contacting an infected person or surface. The hands should first be rubbed with soap for a little while before washing them with water.
- Use sanitiser
If soap and water aren’t available, apply sanitiser before going outside.
BF.7 in India
On December 23, 2022, a well-known scientist eased concerns about the BF.7 coronavirus variant by stating that it is a sub-variant of the Omicron strain and that India need not be overly concerned about the severity of its impact on the population.
However, later it is emphasised that it is always best to wear face masks and stay away from unwanted crowds.
The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) added that China has been experiencing an unusual rise in COVID-19 cases because the neighbouring country has not seen the several waves of the virus that India had to deal with.
The majority of Indians have evolved hybrid immunity, which guards them against various COVID-19 variations by combining immunity from vaccinations and spontaneous infection.
The expert claimed that the vaccines already available in India are effective at preventing or reversing various Omicron variants, as multiple studies showed that even during the major Omicron outbreak earlier this year, India did not see a high rate of hospitalisations.
In response to the rapid spike in instances being seen in countries like China, Japan, the United States of America, the Republic of Korea, and Brazil, India is following certain public rules to prevent the disease from becoming endemic.
BF.7 is a new Omicron variant. Winter months, when we typically see an increase in all respiratory infections, may see a surge in Covid-19 cases.
The government will continue monitoring the situation even if the spread of the new strain of Covid in India is currently under control. Though the cases are not high, it is vital to follow public rules, wear masks, use sanitiser, maintain social distancing and stay indoors.
What are the 4 major variants of Covid-19?
Alpha, Beta, Delta and Omicron are the 4 major variants of Covid-19.
What is the new variant of the virus?
The Omicron variant’s highly transmissible BF.7 strain appears to be the cause of the most recent increase in Covid infections worldwide.
What is the status of the BF.7 variant in India?
Four cases of Omicron sub-variant BF.7 have been found in India so far. There may be an increase in cases of COVID in India if precautions are not taken.