Corona Update: Is the New Variant a Matter of Concern?

Corona Update: Is the New Variant a Matter of Concern?

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
January 20, 20236 mins read

Synopsis

As BF.7, the new variant of COVID-19, became prominent, it is now crucial to understand whether India is safe from another major wave of COVID-19. Find out in this all-inclusive blog.

Key Takeaways

  • The current number of active corona cases in India is negligible
  • You must look out for symptoms like cough, fever, fatigue and headache
  • India has begun rapid COVID-19 testing for international travellers

Do you want a Corona update? With the latest surge of COVID-19 in China, research and discussions are on to understand whether the virus can again impact India and make it the fourth wave of COVID-19. However, as per the latest corona update and the negligible number of active corona cases in India, it is highly unlike that the fourth wave will become a threat. So read on to learn about the 4th COVID wave, and understand whether the new corona variant can impact our health and living.

Worldwide corona update: Data available in the public domain

As per the WHO corona dashboard dated January 17, 2023, there have been 162,083 new cases worldwide in the last 24 hours, which is a negligible figure; however, there have been concerns regarding the surge of COVID-19 in China. The lack of official data from the country has been a bottleneck to measuring the magnitude of the outbreak in China. Apart from China, there have been recent COVID surges in Japan and South Korea too. In the west, the US is also facing a tough challenge to fight the 4th COVID wave with one of the greatest surges in the history of COVID-19.

In the last week, COVID deaths in the US increased by 44%. Three Omicron sub-variants, BQ.1.1, BQ.1, and XBB.1.5, are primarily responsible for this surge, as per the estimate of their national health authorities. Data also reflects that more than 80% of the COVID cases in the US are caused by XBB.1.5 subvariant of Omicron. Though the official case counts of coronavirus in the US are rising slowly, the spike in COVID positive reports is contrary to it, with 16% of the people getting a positive result [1].

Additional Read: Omicron BA.5: What are The Symptoms, and How Dangerous Is It?5-IG Corona Update:

Corona update in India: Is there anything to worry about?

The COVID situation in India is now under control, with only 114 cases in the last 24 hours. Apart from that, as declared by IIT Kanpur in December 2022, 98% of Indians have developed natural immunity against COVID-19. A professor at IIT Kanpur mentioned the possibility of a small COVID wave for residents with weak immune systems. According to him, the corona statistics in India won’t be of much concern for already immune Indians. 

However, to avoid the spread of the latest COVID strain by international travellers, the Health Ministry of India mandated in December 2022 that travellers arriving from a few high-risk countries have to carry a COVID-19 negative test report. Countries included in this list are China, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and South Korea. At the same time, India began random COVID-19 testing for international travellers for the same purpose. 

Signs of 4th COVID wave in India: What symptoms to watch out for?

So, based on the new Corona update, though the fourth wave may not cause much harm to individuals in India, it is still prudent to be on guard and watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loose motion
  • Skin rash
  • Sore throat
  • Red eyes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Brain fog
  • Chest pain

BF.7, the new variant of coronavirus: What is it?

BF.7, the much-discussed new COVID-19 variant, is actually a sub-variant of Omicron. It is believed to be the primary reason for the recent spike in COVID-19 in nations like the United States, China, and Japan. A few cases of corona caused by this variant have also been discovered in India. Though it has become a cause of concern in other countries, experts opine that 98% of the people in India have attained the immunity to resist the variant. [2]

Corona update in India: Other variants to watch out for

The latest corona update on the COVID situation in India is now under control, as per multiple newspaper reports quoting national health authorities. However, it is still wise to be on guard and follow precautionary measures such as wearing a mask in a public place, sanitising your hands, and more. 

Even though the BF.7 variant may not be something concerning for people in India, it is wise to watch out for other sub-variants of Delta and Omicron that may come in the coming days. Remember, it is difficult now to say what the new corona symptoms can be, as there are so many variants and sub-variants at work, and they affect people in different ways.

Additional Read: Omicron Variant BA.2.75: A Guide About This New Variant

Vaccines approved for use in India: Are they effective on the new corona variant?

The first corona vaccine in India (Covishield) was approved on the first day of 2021, followed by Covaxin, which was approved the next day. The COVID vaccination drive in India began on January 16, 2021. In a newsletter dated October 22, 2022, the Press Information Bureau declared that India had crossed the landmark of over 219.33 crore cumulative vaccination coverage [3]. Currently, there are 12 corona vaccines which are approved by the Government of India to be used in the country.

  • COVOVAX by Serum Institute of India
  • Corbevax by Biological E Limited
  • ZyCoV-D by Zydus Cadila
  • GEMCOVAC-19 by Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Limited
  • Spikevax by Moderna
  • iNCOVACC by Bharat Biotech
  • Sputnik Light by Gamaleya
  • Sputnik V by Gamaleya
  • Jcovden by Janssen (Johnson and Johnson)
  • Vaxzervia by Oxford/AstraZeneca
  • Covishield by Serum Institute of India
  • Covaxinby Bharat Biotech 

As per a June 2022 study, the COVID-19 vaccination drive in India was able to prevent an additional 42 lakh deaths [4]. The central government recommends taking three doses of the vaccine - the first dose, the second dose, and the precautionary dose. However, data shows that the number of people taking the doses has reduced as we move from the first to the second and from there to the precautionary dose.

Add feb Ill 5-Corona Update:

Corona update: Has the Government of India issued any latest advisory?

If you are wondering about the latest corona update from the government, there is no separate advisory issued by the union government. However, it is prudent to follow the basic precautionary measures mentioned in the earlier advisories and closely watch the COVID situation in India.

FAQs

Is the COVID-19 pandemic over?

Though the number of new and active cases in most countries has reached its lowest point since early 2020, it would be unwise to state that the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Especially with the rise of the new variant BF.7 as per the latest corona update, it becomes clear that it will take a few more days or months. As there is no specific metric to understand the status of the pandemic, it is better to depend on WHO and the other concerned authorities regularly monitoring the situation.

Will the COVID pandemic become endemic in 2023?

With WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declaring that the WHO COVID-19 Emergency Committee will soon meet to assess the current status of COVID-19, an official endemic status may not be far away. However, it will eventually depend on how the countries deal with the new variant, BF.7.

Corona Update: Is the New Variant a Matter of Concern? banner
  1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/15/covid-19-coronavirus-us-surge-complacency
  2. https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-covid-4th-wave-to-hit-india-iit-professor-s-take-on-whether-we-should-be-scared-of-bf7-variant-3012594
  3. https://pib.gov.in/newsite/pmreleases.aspx?mincode=31
  4. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(22)00320-6/fulltext

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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