Covid-19 Omicron BF.7: What Do You Need to Know

By Dr. Sandeep Budhiraja in Covid-19

Jan 10 , 2023 | 2 min read

Since 2019 various strains of the COVID-19 virus have emerged. A new variant, Omicron BF.7, has led to rising COVID-19 cases in China, but it has now emerged in India, becoming a cause of concern for many. You should be aware of the variant so that you can prevent yourself from it.

What is Omicron BF.7 Variant?

Omicron BF.7 is an abbreviated form for BA. and is a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant BA.5. The incubation period is shorter, and the probability of reinfection is high. It is contagious that doesn’t indicate the severity or chances of death; it simply indicates that Omicron BF.7 spreads faster than the old variant; therefore, it is known as Omicron Spawn. It has resulted in a spike in the number of COVID cases in China. Lately, Omicron BF.7 cases have been reported in India, also.

How is it different from other COVID variants?

There are two sub-variants of Omicron- BA.1 and BA.2

  • BF.7 variant transmits faster than other COVID-19 variants. With an R0 value of 10-18, an infected person can transmit the virus to about 10-18 other people. R0 value, or reproduction number, indicates the contagiousness of infection.

  • Even among vaccinated people, there are high chances of infection due to the 4.4-fold higher neutralisation resistance of the virus, which means the virus remains alive despite the antibodies in the blood.

  • Shorter incubation period with a high reinfection rate.

Common Symptoms to look out for

  • Fever that persists for more than 4-5 days

  • Sore throat and dry cough

  • Congestion, runny nose, and breathlessness

  • Constant fatigue, pain around the chest, and body aches

  • Nausea and vomiting

Is Omicron BF.7 variant more severe than other variants?

Though the BF.7 variant can skip the antibody-mediated neutralisation and is highly contagious compared to other COVID variants, the Delta variant remains the most deadly so far.

What makes Omicron BF.7 a highly contagious virus?

The Omicron BF.7 has an R346T mutation in the spike protein that also exists in parent BA.5. It tends to skip neutralisation by antibody and, therefore, the chances of reinfection are present. Moreover, many patients remain asymptomatic and become the source of the spread of infection.

Who is at high risk of being infected?

Unvaccinated people, people who have not been infected previously by COVID, children, the elderly, and people with weak immunity are at a higher risk of infection.

Omicron BF.7 Precautions

  • Get vaccinated – 2 doses + precautionary dose.

  • Avoid crowded places or use masks.

  • Wash hands frequently or use sanitiser.

  • Get tested and isolate yourself in case of any symptoms.


According to WHO, so far, 500 sublineages of Omicron are circulating globally, but none of them has been referred to as a cause of concern so far. There is no need for panic due to the new variant of Omicron BF.7, but you should get vaccinated and follow COVID protocol to prevent the spread of infection.