The newest strain of coronavirus i.e., Omicron sub-variant BF.7, which originated in China, has now spread across the world, including India. The surge comes after China’s “Zero Covid” policy was eased following a wave of violent countrywide protests. China has seen widespread COVID variant BF.7 infection, making it unable to contain the situation. The Covid-19 situation in China is predicted to deteriorate through the winter.
According to UK-based research firm Airfinity, the first peak of Covid-19 infections in China would occur on January 13, 2023, with 3.7 million cases per day, while the peak of death will occur ten days later, at about 25,000 a day.
In India, COVID cases due to the Omicron sub-variant BF.7 have been found in the state of Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has issued an advisory to its state and regional branches, advising them to take immediate action if an outbreak of any new corona variant occurs in their areas. The IMA urged all of its members and medical professionals to respond proactively in their regions, as was done in the previous COVID waves.
Moreover, the country has implemented various measures to contain the spread of the virus, including widespread vaccination efforts, rapid testing, quarantine measures and enhanced public health messaging. Additionally, the government has also taken steps to increase the availability of medical resources and personnel to address the needs of those affected by the virus. While the situation is still under control, India is taking steps to prepare and respond to the resurgence of Covid-19 in the country.
Steps Taken by Indian Government to Beat Omicron BF.7 Sub-Variant
To counter any threat of Covid’s return, the government has issued the following advisory for states:
- The central government has asked states to send samples to laboratories for genome sequencing to determine the variant or sub-variant of covid-19.
- Additionally, from December 24, the government has asked the civil aviation ministry to ensure random post-arrival Covid testing of 2% of all passengers arriving in India on international flights at airports.
- Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya asked the states to increase surveillance and prepare for new variants or subvariants of Covid, stating that the disease is still present and not over yet.
- The union government has advised people to wear masks and follow social distancing in crowded areas. Furthermore, the centre has also stated that it will keep a check on the country’s Covid situation every week.
- To monitor influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), a nationwide network of sentinel sites will be set up.
- Regular community-based surveillance will be carried out. The emphasis of this will be on the early detection of unexpected events in the community before they become serious, such as large outbreaks, epidemics, etc.
- The district-level rapid response teams (RRT) will evaluate the uncommon events and, if necessary, launch outbreak investigations.
Some Deadliest Diseases that Came Before the COVID-19
The following are some of the deadliest viral diseases that have caused serious illness in humans and animals:
Ebola Virus Disease
Ebola is a viral illness that can cause severe and often fatal diseases in humans and animals. It is caused by one of five species of the Ebola virus: Zaire, Sudan, Bundibugyo, Tai Forest, and the newly identified Bombali. Ebola was first identified in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and outbreaks have occurred primarily in West and Central Africa.
Marburg Virus Disease
Marburg virus disease is a rare and severe illness caused by the Marburg virus, a member of the Filoviridae family. The Marburg virus was first identified in 1967 in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia), when laboratory workers who were handling infected monkeys developed the illness. Outbreaks of Marburg virus disease have occurred primarily in Africa.
Lassa fever is an acute viral illness caused by the Lassa virus, a member of the Arenaviridae family. Lassa fever is endemic in West Africa, and outbreaks of the illness have been reported in countries including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria. The virus is transmitted to humans through contact with rodent urine or faeces, or with objects that have been contaminated with these materials.
MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus)
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a viral respiratory illness that was first identified in the Middle East in 2012. MERS-CoV is caused by a virus in the coronavirus family, which also includes the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the virus that causes COVID-19.
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
The first case of severe acute respiratory syndrome known as SARS was identified in Asia in 2003. SARS is caused by a virus in the coronavirus family, which also includes the virus that causes COVID-19 and the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Nipah virus disease
Nipah virus is a virus that can cause severe illness in both humans and animals. It was first identified in 1998 during an outbreak of severe respiratory illness in Malaysia and Singapore. The virus is transmitted through contact with infected bats or pigs, or with objects that have been contaminated with the virus.
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that is caused by the Zika virus. It was first identified in Uganda in 1947 and has since been found in many countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, primarily the Aedes mosquito.
Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a viral illness that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks or contact with the blood or tissues of infected animals. CCHF is found in many countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe, and is a particularly serious public health threat in countries where ticks are widely distributed and where people are in close contact with livestock.
Rift Valley fever
Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a viral illness that is transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals or their tissues or the bite of infected mosquitoes. RVF is found primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and is most commonly transmitted to humans through contact with the blood or tissues of infected livestock, such as sheep, goats, and cows. The virus can also be transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes.
Monkeypox is a viral illness that is similar to smallpox. It was first detected in humans in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970. The virus is most commonly transmitted to humans through contact with infected rodents, but can also be transmitted through contact with infected monkeys or other animals.
The new corona variants are a threat to India’s economy if they outbreak extensively. They can be fought only through proactive measures like widespread vaccinations, social distancing, wearing masks, etc. However, the Indian government has been working intensively to beat new corona strains, including the Omicron subvariant BF.7 in the best possible ways. The Centre has issued an advisory to states to mitigate covid infections across the country.
In addition to government organisations, many reputed companies in India are working to alleviate the coronavirus infection in India. One such eminent company is Instashield India Private Limited – It provides the Instashield virus slayer plug & play device that can eliminate all types of viruses (including the SARS-CoV2 virus) with up to 99.9% efficiency in the air and on surfaces at home or office. This corona killer device works on the principle of negative ion generation to eliminate viruses/bacteria and other airborne allergens.