COVID-19: What is Omicron BF.7, the dominant coronavirus variant in China? All you need to know

In October, India's first case of the BF.7 variant was reported in Gujarat. Here's all you need to know about its transmission rate, symptoms and other health concerns

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, December 21, 2022, 12:23 PM IST
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Omicron BF.7 | File/representative image

China is currently hit by highly transmissible Omicron strains mainly BA.5.2 and BF.7, which are spreading like wildfire. Beijing is reeling under the impact of the BF.7, which WHO officials say is the fastest spreading Covid virus that has overwhelmed the city's health networks as thousands of people rushed to fever clinics, seeking urgent treatment.

What is Omicron BF.7?

BF.7 is an Omicron's sub variant that has hit some parts of the globe. While Chinese cities have been severely hit by the coronavirus variant, it was October that India saw the first case of the BF.7 variant in Gujarat. The COVID-19 variant is also known as the 'Omicron spawn' that was first detected in China and now reached the United States, UK, Australia, and Belgium. The Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre confirmed the case in India and asked people to not panic.

An official told ANI, "Nothing to panic, surveillance is going on, important point is that we should look at hospitalisation, deaths, currently. Despite new Omicron sub-lineages, there is no concern. But precautions must be taken to avoid transmission."

Reportedly, the virus is now able to escape the immune response to the earlier versions, either from natural infection or through vaccination. "We must realise that the pandemic is not over," the ANI noted as the health expert recommended the use of necessary cautions to stay safe and healthy.

Symptoms and health concerns

Health officials say the virus results in severe throat infections besides, body aches, medium to high fever but not life-threatening, unlike the deadly Delta virus.

Official data quoted in reports suggest elderly people with underlying diseases and complications are prone to severe cases, especially those dealing with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases.

"Omicron mainly attacks the upper respiratory tract and while some patients may develop pneumonia, few will suffer respiratory failure," the Post quoted Wang Guiqiang, an adviser to the NHC and director of the infectious diseases department at Peking University First Hospital as saying on Tuesday.

(With inputs from PTI)

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