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The new variant is Omicron with mutations, won’t lead to severity: experts

The new variant is Omicron with mutations, won’t lead to severity: experts

New Delhi: As Covid cases are rising in different parts of the world driven by the new BF.7. variant, according to Dr. Rajeev Jayadevan, Co-chairman, National IMA Covid taskforce, the new variant is a sub-lineage of the Omicron BA.5 variant and is like the “great-grandson of Omicron” which is less likely to lead to any severity.

"BF.7 is a great-grandson of Omicron, which has a greater ability to infect previously infected or vaccinated people than the original Omicron. This property is called immune evasiveness. It essentially is the same virus as Omicron, but with additional mutations. There is no indication that it causes more severe disease," he said while talking to IANS.

Giving credit to high vaccination coverage and naturally acquired immunity among those who survived past Covid-19 infection, Dr. Jayadevan said that when Western countries suffered under the subsequent BA.5 version of Omicron, most parts of India did not witness a proportionate rise in BA.5-linked cases.

There is no indication at this time that BF.7 or its ancestor BA.5 have made any impact in India. It has also been reported in northern China. Continued genomic surveillance is required - all over the world - firstly due to the fast-changing nature of the virus, and secondly, because some people with compromised immune systems could harbour the virus for long periods of time, Dr Jayadevan advised on the recent growing Covid scare.

"Covid-19 is constantly mutating, the RNA strand of the virus replicates and will make mistakes resulting in mutations, which can introduce important changes, helping the virus to adapt or survive better and increase the ability of the virus to spread faster," said Public Health Expert and Director, Bone and Joint Institute, Fortis Escort Hospital Dr Kaushal Kant Mishra.

He said that studies across the globe have established that being a subvariant of Omicron, it is highly infectious and spreads faster than other variants. "We have observed the increasing trends of joint pain, upper body pain, URI and vertigo," he said, adding that as "no study till now has linked these symptoms with the new variant so we can't say that these are the symptoms".

The current Covid surge in many countries including China is believed to be driven by Omicron sub-variant BF.7. India has also so far reported four cases of this variant that includes two from Gujarat and two from Odisha. The Centre has directed all states and Union Territories to remain cautious and ramp up the genome sequencing to track the variants.

The most common symptoms of the infection include congestion, sore throat, cough, fatigue and runny nose.

Source: IANS

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TAGS:covid surgevariantsOmicronBF7
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