The Omicron BF.7 mutant has entered China. How powerful is the new mutant?


On September 28, Hohhot City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region reported a case of local new coronary pneumonia infection. After national gene sequencing, the case belonged to the evolutionary branch of the new coronavirus Omicron variant BF.7. This is the first time that this branch has caused a local epidemic in China.

Since September 28, the number of new positive cases in this round of BF.7 epidemic has exceeded 600 in a single day, and the cumulative number of reported cases has exceeded 1,800. Some scholars predict that BF.7 may become a popular mutant strain this autumn and winter. So what do we need to know about the Omicron variant strain BF.7? What are the changes in the transmissibility and pathogenicity of different strains?

What’s the difference between the different Omicron variants?

Omicron variant BF.7 is the abbreviation of BA., and is considered to be the third-generation subtype derived from the Omicron BA.5 variant. The BA.2.75 variant was obtained. In layman’s terms: BF.7 has a stronger immune escape ability because it has acquired a new genetic mutation. BF.7 added the RBD mutation R346T in the receptor binding domain on the basis of BA.4/5, which could further escape the neutralizing antibody induced by BA.5 infection.

Tuart Ray, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said that BF.7 infections have an advantage in growth in many countries, so it is reasonable to think that BF.7 is standing Stand firm, and it’s probably more transmissible than the BA.5.

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Are new domestic strains to worry about?

Let’s take a look abroad first:

The World Health Organization has previously paid attention to the Omicron BF.7 variant and warned that the rapid spread of this variant is expected to dominate. Globally, BF.7 cases account for about 3.4% of the new coronavirus cases in the United States; in Europe, Belgium BF.7 infections account for 25%, and Germany, France and Denmark account for about 10%.

In my country, the Omicron BF.7 variant was discovered for the first time since September 29, and the cumulative number of reported cases has exceeded 1,800. BF.7 not only has enhanced transmission power, but most of the infected people are asymptomatic patients and mild patients, so it is easy to “sneak” in the crowd.

In general, BF.7 has stronger infectivity, diffusivity and escape, which is easy to cause large-scale spread, and the difficulty of handling and controlling the epidemic is doubled compared to the past. Increase.

Facing a new, more infectious strain

How can we prevent it?

While the Omicron variant BF.7 is more contagious than the current variant, wearing a mask is still a very effective measure of personal protection.

The New Coronavirus Pneumonia Prevention and Control Plan (Ninth Edition), released this year, has targeted Omicron mutants at a faster speed and more stealth. The ninth edition of the prevention and control plan further strengthens the monitoring and early warning requirements for personnel in key institutions such as schools and kindergartens, elderly care institutions, service institutions in the field of child welfare, psychiatric hospitals, and training institutions, and improves the sensitivity of early detection of infected people.

And this autumn and winter, in addition to the need to be alert to the new coronary pneumonia, it is also necessary to be alert to various respiratory infectious diseases; such as influenza, mumps, rubella, etc.

Scientific wearing of masks can effectively reduce the risk of transmission, prevent the spread of the epidemic, and reduce cross-infection.

In addition, other personal protective measures should still be taken, including frequent hand washing, frequent ventilation, separate meals, using public chopsticks, and maintaining a “1-meter line” social distance. If you have symptoms such as fever, fatigue, dry cough, etc., go to the nearest medical institution as soon as possible (if you have a fever, you need to go to the fever clinic).

At present, in some areas of my country, a new wave of epidemics caused by BF.7 is on the rise; and with the movement of people from various places brought about by the end of the National Day holiday, it is easy to cause local epidemics to spread.

Everyone must protect themselves and their families, cooperate with local epidemic prevention policies, and tide over this difficult time together.

The content is organized from: People’s Daily Health Client, China News Network, the official website of the National Health Commission, etc.

Editor: Dr. Chunyu