BF.7: Another contender for global domination

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The XBB and BQ.1 variants have recently been making headlines, but another SARS-CoV-2 variant, BF.7 has been closely tracking their success across the globe.

BF.7, an alias for BA.5.2.1, was first identified in Belgium in May 2022. 

 

BF.7 was formally designated in July 2022:

 

Over the past few weeks, BF.7 has been making dramatic progress in several countries. It is now the fastest growing variant in a soup of over 120 different strains in Denmark:

 

 

BF.7 currently makes fifth place in the US list of variants compiled by the CDC:

 

In the UK, the November UKHSA Technical Briefing revealed that BF.7 has been sequenced more than 2,600 times, and that BF.7 had already exceeded 20% of sequences in Belgium and the Netherlands:

 

The October 2022 UKHSA Technical Briefing said that “BQ.X, BA.2.75.2 and BF.7 are the most concerning variants in terms of both growth and neutralisation data at present”

 

In Europe, BF.7 has been making progress across the continent:

Lineage WHO Label Country 2-Week Period Change Previous Support Current Support
BF.7 Omicron Spain 2022-10-17 8% -> 17% (+9%) 46 / 588 9 / 52
BF.7 Omicron Poland 2022-10-03 4% -> 14% (+9%) 25 / 579 53 / 387
BF.7 Omicron Belgium 2022-10-17 25% -> 31% (+6%) 411 / 1,671 38 / 123
BF.7 Omicron Luxembourg 2022-09-19 9% -> 15% (+6%) 73 / 821 143 / 974
BF.7 Omicron Denmark 2022-09-19 9% -> 14% (+5%) 603 / 6,968 1,007 / 7,346
BF.7 Omicron Czechia 2022-09-05 3% -> 8% (+5%) 30 / 984 84 / 1,094
BF.7 Omicron Slovenia 2022-08-22 1% -> 3% (+2%) 8 / 735 17 / 538

 

In the US, BF.7 is beginning to make gains in several states across the country:

Lineage WHO Label State 2-Week Period Change Previous Support Current Support
BF.7 Omicron Nevada 2022-10-03 1% -> 8% (+7%) 1 / 195 11 / 143
BF.7 Omicron Nebraska 2022-10-03 3% -> 10% (+6%) 5 / 154 11 / 114
BF.7 Omicron North Carolina 2022-10-03 3% -> 8% (+6%) 45 / 1,715 65 / 773
BF.7 Omicron Ohio 2022-10-03 2% -> 6% (+4%) 11 / 661 14 / 241
BF.7 Omicron Washington 2022-10-03 2% -> 5% (+3%) 37 / 1,546 43 / 811
BF.7 Omicron Michigan 2022-09-05 0% -> 2% (+2%) 6 / 1,708 31 / 1,534

 

 

A Canadian risk assessment of BF.7, dated October 2022, shows nearly 400 sequences:

As of October 4, 2022, there were 385 BF.7 sequenced cases identified in Canada, with 91 from Ontario. In Ontario, the number and proportion of BF.7 cases increased from 26 (1.2%) the week of September 11, 2022, to 60 (2.7%) the week of September 18, 2022.

eb-risk-assessment-omicron-sub-lineage-bf-7

 

Perhaps inevitably, there are already at least 12 different recorded subvariants of BF.7!

There is undoubtedly more news to come with this variant. We will update this post with any new information as it becomes available.

 

 

Preprint: Neutralizing antibody escape of BQ.1, BQ.1.1, BA.4.6, BF.7 and BA.2.75.2