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All You Need To Know About The Lethal Omicron Sub-Variant BF.7 That Has Brought China To Its Knees, Four Cases Detected In India

The BF.7, a sub-lineage of the previous Omicron variant BA.5, has reduced china to its knees, it is a more potent variant and can infect even those who are vaccinated.

The world is watching in horror as China is in the midst of a severe Covid -19 wave that has brought the country to its knees – literally!

The current rise in cases in China is driven by the Onimcron sub-variant BF.7, of which four cases in India have been detected. 

Gujarat has reported two cases and two from Odisha. 

This sub-variant has already been detected in several other countries, causing the respective governments and health ministries to tighten their vigil; these countries include Germany, Belgium, France, Denmark, The US and the UK.

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What do we know of the Omicron sub-variant so far?

Experts have classified BF.7 as a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant BA.5.

The primary worry in regard to this variant is that it has a much shorter incubation period, and at the same time, it is highly transmissible. 

It is even more lethal because it has a much higher capacity to cause reinfection, and even vaccinated individuals can be infected. 

The reason why it is said to have a high chance of infecting even those who are already vaccinated is that this variant has 4.4-fold higher neutralization resistance than the original coronavirus. This means the antibodies from the vaccination are ineffective against the virus.

What are the symptoms of Omicron BF.7 Variant?

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

What precautions can we take?

India is in the middle of the winter season, and it is not uncommon for many to catch a cough, cold and other seasonal illnesses during these months.

However, if one has symptoms such as these, it is necessary to have them checked out, get a Covid test done immediately, and practise self-isolation. 

People are out and about due to Christmas and New Year celebrations which are around the corner; hence it becomes essential more 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.

What is driving this variant?

One of the major factors fuelling the infections among people in China is the already compromised immunity due to previous infections; hence it becomes imperative that immunity-boosting foods and methods be adequately adopted.

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What is happening in India?

To date, four cases of this variant have been detected in India. 

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has urged people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour saying that COVID is not over yet. 

Hence, he has directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation,” he wrote in a tweet.

Manoj Agarwal, Additional Chief Secretary of Health, has stated that the central government briefed all states to ensure proper screening of international passengers and genome sequencing on Tuesday.

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

The new Covid variant BF.7, 10 things you need to know:

1. So far, two cases have been reported from Gujarat, and two from Odisha, in which the BF.7 variant has been detected. 

2. As mentioned previously, the variant has already been detected in several other countries, including the US and UK and European nations such as Belgium, Germany, France and Denmark. 

3. Though people are advised to wear masks in crowded places, the government has said there is no need to panic. Also, a suggestion reiterated by vaccine maker Serum Institute of India’s Adar Poonawalla. 

4. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted after a review meeting on Wednesday, “COVID is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation.” 

5. Indian states have been directed by the union government to send samples to labs for genome sequencing, which can help identify the variant or sub-variant.

6. At the Covid review meeting held by the minister on Wednesday, experts said that though there is no overall increase in Covid caseload in India, but there is a need for continued surveillance to keep track of existing and emerging variants.

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7. BF.7 is a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant BA.5. It has the most potent infection ability since it is highly transmissible, has a shorter incubation period, and has a higher capacity to cause reinfection or infect even those vaccinated.

8. The high degree of spread in Chinese cities — including the capital city of Beijing — is also attributed to a “low level of immunity”, possibly due to previous infections.

9. When the first case of BF.7 infection showed up, health expert Dr Rajeev Jayadevan said, “Ever since Omicron arrived in November 2021, it has been giving off branches which divide into smaller branches. Of these, BA.2 and BA.5 proved stronger than the rest. BA.5.1.7 and BF.7 are names given to downstream descendants of BA.5.”

10. India reported 129 new infections over the last 24 hours, as reported on Wednesday, and the number of active cases currently stands at 3,408. One death was recorded over the previous 24 hours.

 

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