Omnicron BF.7 detected in India: Symptoms, precautions of highly infectious COVID strain

Omnicron BF.7 detected in India: Symptoms, precautions of highly infectious COVID strain
Omnicron BF.7 detected in India: Symptoms, precautions of highly infectious COVID strain

China is witnessing yet another Covid-19 wave. The current surge in Covid-19 infections in China is believed to be driven by Omicron sub-variant BF.7. Four cases of the BF.7 variant have been detected in India, so far. Two cases have been reported from Gujarat and two from Odisha. This sub-variant has already been detected in several other countries including Germany, Belgium, France, Denmark, The US, and the UK.

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Omicron sub-variant BF.7: What we know so far

The BF.7 is a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant BA.5. According to PTI, it is a highly transmissible variant with a shorter incubation period. It also has a higher capacity to cause re-infection and can even infect vaccinated individuals.

According to a study published in the journal ‘Cell Host and Microbe,’ the BF.7variant has 4.4-fold higher neutralization resistance than the original Wuhan virus. This means the antibodies from the vaccination are not effective enough against the virus.

Symptoms of Omicron BF.7 variant

The new variant presents symptoms similar to upper respiratory infection including fever, sore throat, runny nose and cough.

Some patients may also experience stomach-related issues including diarrhea and vomiting.

If someone is experiencing such symptoms, expert advise getting tested immediately.

This variant may not lead to any severe complication but can spread faster. Therefore, early detection and isolation are extremely crucial.

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As Christmas and New Year celebrations are around the corner, it is more crucial than ever to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. Wearing a mask, social distancing and hand sanitization remain the basic steps that can help prevent a possible spread.

Cold, cough and other seasonal illnesses are also common during these months in India. But you should not ignore these symptoms. If you or someone around you experience the above-mentioned symptoms, get a Covid test done immediately and practice self-isolation.

Low immunity could be the culprit

It is believed that a low level of immunity due to previous infections can be one of the major reasons behind the surge in China.

What is the situation in India?

Four cases of the BF.7 variant have been reported in India, till now. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya urged people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. “COVID is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation,” he wrote in a tweet.

Additional Chief Secretary of Health, Manoj Agarwal told news agency ANI that the central government briefed all states to ensure proper screening of international passengers, as well as genome sequencing, on Tuesday.

READ | Funeral homes with sick workers struggle to keep up in Covid-hit Beijing

Currently, China, Japan, South Korea, France and the United States have been reporting an alarming surge in Covid-19 cases.


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