In India, the highly infectious Omicron sub-variant BF.7 has been identified. The BF.7 variant was initially discovered in China and has now spread to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Belgium.
The first sub-variant case was discovered in Gujarat, confirmed by the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre, and dubbed the “Omicron spawn.”
The subvariant is a cause for concern since it can exceed immunity conferred by prior infections and vaccinations.
An official stated to The New Indian Express, “We are continuing to monitor the situation to determine if this variety becomes more virulent and causes a new outbreak in India.”
The BF.7 variant has triggered cases in China. In fact, the World Health Organization issued a warning about the extremely contagious BF.7 COVID strain. In addition, the subvariant was anticipated to become a new dominant variant.
In spite of new Omicron sub-lineages, there is no cause for alarm, but precautions must be made to prevent transmission, as stated by a government official to ANI: “There is no cause for alarm; monitoring is ongoing, and it is essential that we monitor hospitalizations and deaths.”
According to Dr. Rajeev Jayadevan, Health Expert and Task Force Member for COVID in Kerala, “These are immune escape variations. Since Omicron’s arrival in November 2021, it has been producing branches that divide into smaller branches. BA.2 and BA.5 have proven to be the most potent.”
“From BA.2 and BA.5, a number of sublineages emerged. Each of these contained further mutations that were concentrated on the RBD or receptor binding domain of the spike protein of the virus,” he explained.
The expert stated that due to convergent evolution including approximately five regularly occurring mutations, the virus is now capable of evading the immune response to earlier versions, whether through natural infection or vaccination.
“This is why they are known as immune-evasive variations,” Dr. Rajeev explained. BA.5.1.7 and BF.7 are the names given to BA.5’s progeny.
Experts have advised taking measures, noting that the pandemic is still ongoing.
India has reported 2,000 instances of Covid, and Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu have seen an increase.