Why Coronavirus BF.7 Variant Has Sparked Concern In India

Explained: Why Coronavirus BF.7 Variant Has Sparked Concern In India

India is setpping up measures to detect new variants of COVID-19 (File).

The COVID-19 pandemic, which brought the world to a standstill in 2020, continues to be a cause for concern two years later. Currently, a surge in COVID-19 infections is being recorded in China. The variant of the virus that is driving this rise in number is believed to be BF.7. This is a sub-variant of the Omicron strain BA.5. While the high rate of transmission across China has been attributed to the “low level of immunity”, there are also characteristics of the variant itself that has sparked concern across India.

Here is all you need to know about the BF.7 virus:

The BF.7 variant is highly transmissible and has a shorter incubation period – the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. In addition to this, it has a higher capacity to cause reinfection or infect even those who have been vaccinated.

Additionally, the BF.7 variation has 4.4-fold stronger neutralisation resistance than the original Wuhan virus, 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.

This was further confirmed by Li Tongzeng, a physician at Beijing’s Xiaotangshan Hospital told the state-run publication The Global Times. In comparison to other versions discovered thus far, Omicron BF.7 has a greater capacity for immunological escape, a shorter incubation period, and a faster transmission rate, Tongzeng was quoted as saying.

In India, the BF.7 variation has so far been linked to four cases. Mansukh Mandaviya, the health minister, has asked individuals to behave in a Covid-appropriate manner. “Covid is still ongoing. I’ve told everyone involved to be vigilant and step up security. We are equipped to handle any circumstance,” he said on Twitter.

Two cases each have been reported from Gujarat and Odisha. Meanwhile, countries such as Germany, Belgium, France, Denmark, the USA and the UK have also recorded cases of this sub-variant.

The symptoms of the Omicron BF.7 variant include markers of upper respiratory infection including fever, sore throat, runny nose and cough. 

As per the latest data, India has reported 129 fresh infections over the last 24 hours. The number of active cases in the country stands at 3,408 with one death recorded in the last 24 hours.

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