Omicron BF.7: How India Plans To Tackle This Subvariant

India’s strategy of test-track-treat-vaccinate and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour has so far restricted the transmission of COVID virus.

Varun Verma
Written by: Varun VermaUpdated at: Dec 22, 2022 15:14 IST
Omicron BF.7: How India Plans To Tackle This Subvariant

The cases of COVID-19 are surging worldwide, including China, Japan, the USA, Korea, and Brazil. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya held a review meeting on December 21, 2022, with experts and senior officials on the situation of COVID-19 in India. India’s five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccinate and adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour has so far restricted the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The Union Health Minister directed all concerned to stay alert and urged people to take the COVID-19 vaccination. As of now, India has reported four cases of Omicron subvariant BF.7; three of them are from Gujarat, while one is from Odisha.

Reason For Surge In COVID Cases

China and other countries have seen a recent surge in COVID-19 infections. The credit has been given to a subvariant, BF.7, which falls in the sub-lineage of Omicron variant BA.5. BF.7 is believed to be highly infectious and can invade the immune system in people who were infected by COVID-19 and in those who have been immunised. The symptoms of this subvariant are not very unique from other subvariants, which include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and fatigue.

Also ReadCOVID-19 Surge In China: Omicron Subvariant BF.7 Symptoms To Watch Out For

How India Plans To Tackle The Virus?

While cautioning about the COVID-19 infection, the Union Minister of Health directed all concerned to stay alert. He also urged people to take the COVID vaccination.

In a letter written to all Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary/Secretary (Health) of all states and union territories, the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reiterated the five-fold strategy of “test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour.” He added that with this strategy, India has been able to contain the transmission of the Coronavirus.

Genome Sequencing

In the letter, he asked all states to gear up the genome sequencing of positive cases to track the mutations through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium network in light of the unexpected spike in cases observed in Japan, the USA, Korea, Brazil, and China.

Vaccination & Precautionary Dose

Vaccination is essential to prevent the infection of Coronavirus, especially for those who have a compromised immune system or have a comorbid condition. In this regard, Dr V.K Paul, who is the Member-Health, Niti Aayog, said that only 27-28% of the population had taken the precautionary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. He emphasised that “Precaution dose is mandated and guided to everyone” and appealed to the senior citizens to take one.

Dr NK Arora, Chairman of the COVID-19 working group India’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), said that “there is nothing to be panicked about” and it is important to keep a close watch on the situation of Coronavirus surges in China. He stated that the system is vigilant and genome sequencing with people with symptoms is being conducted.

Also ReadCOVID-19: India Reports Its First Omicron BF.7 Case

Other Strategies

Dr Arora highlighted that surveillance from sewage, hospitalised people, and those coming to international airports is being conducted. They also have a certain percentage of samples randomly selected from them, so that in the event that a new subvariant or anything else of concern is discovered right away, the proper course of action may be followed.

As of now, India has reported four cases of Omicron subvariant BF.7; three of them are from Gujarat, while one is from Odisha. Thus, the most important thing to follow on the individual level is to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour and wear a mask when going out in public places.

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