The highly contagious Covid-19 variant which has been identified in 60% of variants in China namely the BA.5.2 and BF.7 has been detected in Malaysia said Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said there were a total of 4,148 cases in the country infected with the BA.5.2 variant and three cases infected with BF.7.
However, he said there is no data that can link the increase in the number of cases of harm or death with both variants. “These two variants belong to the Omicron BA.5 sublineage and have not yet been classified as a Lineage Under Monitoring (LUM) by the World Health Organization (WHO). Both BA.5.2 and BF.7 variants are believed to cause re-infection or have a higher infection rate due to the high number of cases in China,” he said in a statement.
Dr Noor added the situation will be reviewed from time to time when there are any significant changes where it requires changes in the public health strategy and it will be announced immediately by WHO to all member countries and the world population in general. The BF.7 variant, short for BA.220.127.116.11, is derived from the Omicron BA.5 variant and was first detected in the world in July 2022. Dr Noor Hisham also said the results of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance in Malaysia throughout December 2022 showed that the XBB variant dominates the transmission of Covid-19 in this country.
The XBB variant comprised 55.4 percent of the number of samples that successfully underwent 17 genome sequencing followed by the BA.2.75 (20.8 percent) and BQ.1 (10.8 percent) variants. “This shows that the XBB variant is still the main infectious variant among the Malaysian population since October 2022. “Both XBB and BA.2.75 variants are a type of LUM WHO variant,” he said.