New Delhi: Amid rising fears of a fourth COVID-19 wave, the Indian government’s scientists have reportedly isolated a sample of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that contains the virulent BF.7 strain. According to a TOI report, the sample is being used to assess the efficacy of vaccines that are currently being used in India.
“Scientists are studying whether the currently available vaccines are effective in preventing infections or serious illness caused by the new sub-variant,” a TOI source has said.
While the variant is not a new discovery – four cases of the BF.7 have been reported in India since July – the isolation and efficacy testing are a step ahead.
One of the first cases of the variant was reported in Gujarat, when a 60-year-old man tested positive for the virus and the variant was found in a sample of his blood. Three of the four cases were reported from the same state, while the remaining case is from Odisha.
All four patients were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms and they recovered from the disease. “BF.7 has a reproduction value of more than 10 meaning an individual infected by the variant can infect at least 10 others,” Dr N K Mehra, an ICMR scientist, told TOI.