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Omicron BF.7: All You Need To Know About The New COVID-19 Variant

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 23 December 2022, Updated on - 30 December 2022

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Just when everyone thought the COVID-19 pandemic was winding down, China recently reported a massive surge in the number of COVID infection cases due to a new variant, BF.7. While the scientists believe this spike in the cases in China can be attributed to their low immunity levels due to the previous infection and the limited effectiveness of the vaccine, we need to be prepared with preventative measures before the situation becomes worrisome. 

The New Omicron Variant

The BA.5.2.1.7, BF.7 in short, is the sub-lineage of the omicron variant BA.5 that’s spreading havoc in China. It is known to have a shorter incubation period and a high infectivity rate. Though it seems like a recent found, data released by the Scripps Research Institute states that a variant matching the genetic make-up and mutation profile of BF.7 has been circulating in almost 91 countries since February 2021. 

How is BF.7 Different From Other Variants?

Though BF.7 belongs to the family of Omicron variant, it has some distinct features. Some of these include:

  • It can escape immunity from vaccination, therefore can infect even those vaccinated.
  • It has a shorter incubation period.
  • It can transmit infection at a faster rate. This means an infected individual can transmit the virus to an average of 10 to 18.6 people.
  • Patients test negative post-infection in 7 to 10 days.

Since this variant can spread quickly, travelling during this time could bear the risk of getting infected. Ensure your and others' safety by getting an RTPCR test done if you are coming back from travelling.

Book An RTPCR Test

Symptoms of Omicron BF.7

The symptoms of BF.7 are similar to that of the other omicron variants, which include:

  • Fever
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny Nose
  • Breathlessness
  • Cough
  • Low Oxygen Level
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, use the COVID-antigen self-testing kit to know if you are infected. 

Explore COVID Home Test Kits

Is Omicron BF.7 Worrisome?

Scientists believe that people must not panic at this stage as most Indians have acquired hybrid immunity through vaccines or previous infections from different COVID-19 variants. However, since only 28% of India's eligible population have taken the COVID-19 precautionary dose, the health ministry of India has urged people to follow precautionary measures and take the vaccine dose to reduce their risk of getting infected.

Consult An Apollo Expert

Some of the precautionary measures one must follow include: 

  • Wear N95 masks while stepping out
  • Keep your hands sanitized
  • Try to avoid public gatherings
  • Visit a doctor immediately in case symptoms appear

Apart from these measures, stocking up on COVID-essentials like face masks, nebulisers, pulse oximeters, and immunity boosters can also help you stay a step ahead of this new variant.

If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19 infection, isolate yourself, get a COVID-19 RTPCR test done and consult an Apollo expert. 

 

Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.

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