Too much hype over Omicron sub-variant BF.7, say experts

Experts believe that this variant has not affected India disastrously and there is a need to be alert and cautious.

By KANIZA GARARI  Published on  27 Dec 2022 11:30 AM GMT
Too much hype over Omicron sub-variant BF.7, say experts

Hyderabad: Doctors and medical experts across the country say there is too much hype, rumours, and unscientific conversations over Omicron sub-variant BF.7.

Dr. Rajeev Jayadevan, co-chairman of the National IMA Covid Taskforce, says, "The latest genomic sequencing data in December from India also shows that BF.7 did not make an impact in India. That is likely because sub-lineages that are more immune evasive than BF7 had a growth advantage over it. Currently, XBB and BA 2.75 are the dominant sub-lineages in India, both of which are descendants of Omicron."

BF.7 has been reported in 40 countries and it generated interest among scientists due to its immune evasive nature. It was first found in Europe in July 2022. It was also detected in India around that time.

Dr. Jayadevan says, "The growth of BF.7 was not as high as expected. In regions like the United States of America, where detailed genome sequencing is done, the growth is 3.9%."

In China, genomic data is not much. Dr Jayadevan says, "There are a few recent reports that BF.7 with additional mutations is currently circulating in China." Experts believe that this variant has not affected India disastrously and there is a need to be alert and cautious.

Dr. K. Hari Prasad, president of the Apollo Group of Hospitals, says, "India has a high level of hybrid immunity which has resulted from natural infection and high vaccination. Over 220 crore doses have been administered till date. In case of common symptoms of fever, cold, cough, and respiratory distress, consult the doctors on time."

Until then follow the guidelines for Covid-appropriate behaviour:

· Wear masks in public places.

· Use sanitisers to wash hands.

· Avoid crowded places.

· If you are not well, rest at home. Do not spread the disease to others by going out.

· Maintain a distance.

· Avoid touching surfaces.

These precautions and social responsibility in cough etiquette and behaviour also go a long way in controlling the spread of infectious viruses.

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