SRINAGAR, DEC 26 – Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday said BF.7 variant is unlikely to cause a new wave of Covid-19 in our population.
“BF.7 is not a cause of concern for us and there is no need to worry about it,” said DAK President and Influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said BF.7, the variant driving China’s Covid surge is a sublineage of the BA.5 subvariant of omicron.
First detected in Febrauary 2021, BF.7 has been in circulation for last 22 months across 91 countries without much impact. The prevalence of the variant in sequenced samples has remained below 0.5% worldwide.
“India detected its first case of BF.7 in July this year and it has not contributed significantly to Covid cases compared to other simultaneously circulating Omicron sublineages,” he said.
The DAK President said with high vaccination rates and natural immunity, the possibility of having a wave due to this variant is less.
“Most of us have gone through the omicron wave this year in January. So we don’t need to worry about it. Essentially BF.7 is the same virus,” he said.
“The fact that there has been no significant increase in the incidence of the BF.7 variant since its detection 5 months ago shows that it is not something to be bothered about,” he added.
Dr Nisar said the transmission rate and severity of a variant are not uniform everywhere. It varies depending on the susceptibility of the local population.
“China followed restrictive zero Covid policy, most people there are not exposed to the variant and hence have no immunity. Now with sudden reopening, the country saw a massive surge in cases in the susceptible population,” he said.
General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said we need to realize that Covid-19 has entered into an endemic stage. It has become yet another infection joining many other diseases that we have learned to live.
Cases will wax and wane. Outbreaks will pop up here and there.
“Frequent changes in genome structure are part of the natural life course of viruses and there is no need to panic,” he said.