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Business News/ Science / Health/  XBB.1.5 or Omicron BF.7, which is more dangerous? Check symptoms, transmissibility to understand

Covid continues to threaten worldwide with two new variants - XBB.1.5 and Omicron BF.7. While the latter triggered a massive infection spike in China, the XBB.1.5 has contributed to over 40% new cases in the US. As per the official data, both the variants have been found in India. Here is all you need to know about XBB.1.5 and Omicron BF.7; which is more dangerous and the symptoms related to them. 

What is XBB15 and how fast is it spreading?

XBB15–a new recombinant strain of BA.2.75 and BA.2.10.1—is both more immune evasive & better at infecting than BQ & XBB variants.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data suggests that XBB.1.5 accounted for 40.5% of new sequenced COVID-19 cases in the United States. Meanwhile, WHO said that the variant has already spread to at least 29 countries by now. 

What is Omicron BF.7 and can it cause severe infection?

Omicron BF. 7 or BA., which is behind the massive infection surge in China, is said to be extremely fast spreading. 

Even as China is seeing an increase in hospitalisation rate, experts are attributing it to the sudden relaxation of the country's zero COVID policy. 

The variant has also been detected in several other countries including the United States, the UK, Australia and Belgium.

Which is more dangerous?

Of the two variants, it seems XBB.1.5 has a certain growth advantage. “XBB is better at evading immune defenses gained from vaccination and prior infection, compared to other variants, which is why the new XBB.1.5 appears to be highly transmissible, as it has picked up some key mutations from its parent strain," a recent study has revealed.

World Health Organisation (WHO) said that the variant “is the most transmissible form of Omicron to date." However, there is no evidence to show that it can cause severe diseases.

“We do expect further waves of infection around the world, but that doesn’t have to translate into further waves of death because our countermeasures continue to work," Maria Van Kerkhove, epidemiologist and WHO technical lead expressed.

What are the common symptoms of the variants?

The common omicron symptoms include - Sore throaty, Runny nose, Blocked nose, Sneezing, Cough without phlegm, Headache, Cough with phlegm, Hoarse voice, Muscle aches and pains etc.


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Updated: 08 Jan 2023, 09:10 AM IST
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