BF.7 VARIANT OF THE CORONAVIRUS - IAS Academy in Coimbatore
BF.7 VARIANT OF THE CORONAVIRUS
Why in News?
The current surge in Covid-19 infections in China, is believed to be driven by the BF.7 sub-variant of Omicron that is circulating over there.
- The dominant virus strain in China is BF.7, a sub-variant of Omicron that has been in circulation for over a year now.
- There are over 500 Omicron sub-variants currently in circulation.
- BF.7 is the name for the BA.188.8.131.52, which itself has evolved from the BA.5 sub-variant.
- BF.7 is not unique to China.
- It accounted for over 5% of the cases in the US in October, 2022 and over 7% of the cases in the UK.
- When viruses mutate, they create lineages and sub-lineages— like the main trunk of the SARS-CoV-2 tree sprouting branches and sub-branches.
- A research study reported that the BF.7 sub-variant has a 4.4-fold higher neutralisation resistance than the original D614G variant— meaning that in a lab setting, antibodies from a vaccinated or infected individual were less likely to destroy BF.7 than the original Wuhan virus that spread worldwide in 2020.
- A higher neutralisation resistance means there is a higher likelihood of the variant spreading in a population and replacing other variants.
How are New Variants Formed
- When a virus multiplies, it doesn’t always manage to produce an exact copy of itself.
- This means that, over time, the virus may start to differ slightly in terms of its genetic sequence.
- Any changes to the viral genetic sequence during this process is known as a Mutation.
- Viruses with new mutations are sometimes called Variants. Variants can differ by one or multiple mutations.
- When a new variant has different functional properties to the original virus and becomes established in a population, it is sometimes referred to as a New Strain of the virus.
- All strains are variants, but not all variants are strains.