New Delhi: Amid the three cases of the Omicron BF.7 variant found in India, people started circulating various messages related to Covid-19 variants. One such notice about the Omicron XBB variant got viral on social media, which states that this variant is five times more dangerous than the Delta variant. Health Ministry took on their Twitter handle to burst the myth and labelled it as fake.
The Health Ministry wrote that the message regarding the XBB variant, circulating in Whatsapp groups, is fake and misleading.
This message is circulating in some Whatsapp groups regarding XBB variant of #COVID19.
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) December 22, 2022
The message said that this new variant cannot be detected through RT-PCR tests and that fever and cough are not its symptoms. It said that the variant causes a ‘pain-free’ viral pneumonia in the chest.
Facts related to the Omicron XBB variant:
As per the official website of the World Health Organisation (WHO), XBB is a recombinant of BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75 sublineages and has been found in 35 countries. WHO says that early research has shown a higher reinfection risk, but there is not enough data to reach a conclusion. It also says that the cases of reinfection were initially limited to people with initial infection in the pre-Omicron period.
WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) held a meeting on October 24, where they discussed the variants XXB and BQ.1. TAG-VE concluded that XXB is not a matter of concern, while the situation will be reassessed later.
Omicron BF.7 variant:
An NRI lady in Vadodara tested positive for Omicron BF.7 in October and since then, reportedly, two more cases of the variant have been found in the nation. The Omicron BF.7 is a sub-lineage of the variant BA.5 and was first detected in Beijing, China in October 2022. The government has issued an advisory to get precautionary vaccine doses and wear masks in crowded places.