As fall rolls in, a new COVID-19 subvariant has become a cause of concern in Europe. This new strain, the BA.220.127.116.11 or the BF.7 for short, is a sublineage of BA.5.
The subvariant is behind 25% of reported cases in Belgium and 10% in Denmark, Germany, and France, per Cov-lineages.org.
This variant was first clumped with BA.5, but after cases topped 1%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to put it in its own category, explained Dr. Stuart Ray, vice chairman of medicine for data integrity and analytics at Johns Hopkins Department of Medicine, in an interview with Fortune.
“The same growth advantage in multiple countries makes it reasonable to think that BF.7 is gaining a foothold,” Ray said, adding that it’s possible for this mutation to be more transmissible than BA.5.
Updated fit of global SARS-CoV2 lineage frequencies based on all @GISAID + @CovidGenomicsUK data, now with BF.7 / BA.18.104.22.168 represented separately. BA.2.75 still predicted to overtake in many places, but BA.22.214.171.124 has similar advantage over plain BA.5, so different outcomes.🧵 pic.twitter.com/ThB42hdBHO— Tom Wenseleers (@TWenseleers) August 21, 2022
Other variants of concern
Omicron subvariant BA.5 is still responsible for a majority of cases in the United States, but it’s observing a decline, according to CDC estimates. Meanwhile, BA.4.6 is responsible for 10.3% and BA.4 accounts for 1.8%, followed by BF.7, which makes up 1.7%.
What are the top omicron symptoms to look out for?
As I previously reported, omicron subvariants have a shorter incubation period, which is why the symptoms may appear earlier. The worst symptom is a “throat on fire,” said University of California, San Francisco’s Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.
The most common omicron-related symptoms are:
- Runny nose.