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New COVID variant BF.7 gains ground as cases from BA.5 decline

The subvariant is already behind 25% of reported cases in Belgium and 10% of cases in Denmark, Germany, and France

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An illustration of COVID-19.

An illustration of COVID-19. As fall rolls in, a new COVID-19 subvariant has become a cause of concern in Europe. This new strain, the BA.5.2.1.7 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.

Alex Cochran, Deseret News

As fall rolls in, a new COVID-19 subvariant has become a cause of concern in Europe. This new strain, the BA.5.2.1.7 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.

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:

  • Cough.
  • Fatigue.
  • Congestion.
  • Runny nose.