BF.7 omicron sub-variant is behind China’s new covid wave

Scientists have warned in recent days about the rapid mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 and omicron virus into new subvariants as well as its rapid growth in certain regions of the world. In China, for example, BF.7 was recently identified as the main strain spreading in Beijing and contributing to a broader increase in COVID infections across the country.

The epidemiologist and health economist at the Harvard School of Public Health and a member of the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, Feigl-Ding has warned of the risk that China runs of collapsing.

The new BF.7 variant was detected in China and as its incubation period is shorter and it spreads faster, the international community is on alert. Another thing that is causing concern is the ease of this new variant to reinfect people who have previously had covid and who are vaccinated.

What is BF.7 variant?

The BF.7 variant is a sublineage of the BA.5 omicron variant. According to reports from China, the ability to infect is greater than that of any of the previous variants.

BF.7 is believed to have an R0, or basic reproduction number, of 10 to 18.6, meaning that one infected person will transmit the virus to an average of 10 to 18.6 other people. While research has shown that omicron has an average R0 of just 5.08.

It is transmitted faster, the incubation period is shorter and the ability to reinfect people who have previously had the disease or are already vaccinated is also greater. So far the mortality rate has not increased.

Another characteristic is added, despite a large number of infected, there is a large number of asymptomatic carriers that makes it impossible to control the spread of the respiratory disease.

Also Read:  Who is Eric Feigl-Ding, raising alarm on new covid wave?

What are the symptoms of the new BF.7 variant?

The symptoms that develop with this new variant are more like a cold.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain

Where has the BF.7 variant been identified?

In addition to China, BF.7 has been detected in other countries around the world including:

  • India
  • USA
  • United Kingdom
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • France
  • Denmark
  • Among other European countries

Despite BF.7’s immune-evading characteristics and worrying signs about its growth in China, the variant appears to be holding fairly steady elsewhere. For example, in the United States, it was estimated to account for 5.7 per cent of infections through December 10, up from 6.6 per cent the week before.

While the UK Health Security Agency identified BF.7 as one of the most worrying variants in terms of growth and neutralization data in a technical report published in October (accounting for more than 7 per cent of cases at the time). The most recent report says that it has declined due to lower incidence and low growth rates in the UK.

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