First case of new Covid sub-variant Omicron BF.7 detected in Bangladesh: IEDCR
The highly contagious new Omicron sub-variant of coronavirus, BF.7, has been detected in the country, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director Dr Tahmina Shirin confirmed Sunday.
The presence of a new variant was confirmed in the genome sequence reports of one of the four Covid-19 infected Chinese citizens who travelled to Bangladesh from China recently.
IEDCR has requested all those who are Covid positive from across the country to send their samples to IEDCR for genome sequencing.
The four Chinese nationals were the first detected Covid-19 positive in the antigen tests over the last one year at Dhaka airport. The flight China Eastern, number MU2035, reached Dhaka from Kunming in China on 23 December. Later, their Covid-19 RT-PCR test report also came out positive.
The passengers, however, carried a Covid negative RT-PCR certificate issued from China.
BF.7 is a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant BA.5. It is a highly transmissible variant with a shorter incubation period. The variant also has a higher capacity to cause re-infection and can even infect vaccinated individuals.
The BF.7variant has 4.4-fold higher neutralisation resistance than the original Wuhan virus - meaning the antibodies from the vaccination are not effective enough against the virus, said a study published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe.
It also presents symptoms similar to upper respiratory infection including fever, sore throat, runny nose and cough.
Stomach-related issues including diarrhoea and vomiting may also be symptoms. While the variant may not lead to any severe complications, it can spread faster.