The BF.7 strain of Covid-19 is behind a large number of infections in China, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, and the US. This highly virulent strain is a sub-lineage of the BA.5 (Omicron) variant. BA.7 has an R-value of 10-18 compared to Omicron’s 1-5. This means that a person infected with the BA.5 variant can transmit it to an average of 1 to 5 people, and the new strain can transmit it to an average of 10 to 18 other people. In order to ensure timely treatment for oneself and to prevent transmitting the virus to those around us, it is essential to identify whether the symptoms are of Covid-19 or some other infection.
Since it is a sub-variant of Omicron, BF.7’s symptoms are similar to those already observed in people who had been infected by the BF.5 variant during the third wave of the pandemic in India. While symptoms such as loss of taste and smell, which were observed in the first wave, are no longer prominent in the more recent variants, other signs are. These include:
- Sore throat
- Infection of the respiratory tract
- Muscle pain
These symptoms are common to many other conditions and infections as well. However, in Covid patients, they can be distinguished based on how long they persist. A majority of Covid patients develop a dry cough, not a wet cough. The cough begins mildly, just like in a common cold, but persists longer and worsens over time. Intense and persistent fatigue is also a sign of Covid, since a common cold or viral infection does not cause intense tiredness for long periods.
With the newer variants, pneumonia has also joined the list of symptoms. It is especially visible in the elderly or people with an underlying condition.
So far, there have been four cases of Omicron sub-variant BF.7 in India. Experts suggest that the situation in the country will not be as bad as in other regions since a vast majority of the Indian population was already naturally immunised against the umbrella Omicron variant during the third wave.
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