Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday said the Omicron sub-variant, BF.7, has been found in several of the 200 COVID-positive samples of international air passengers that have so far been genome-sequenced and the vaccines being used in India against the viral disease are effective against it.
More than 15 lakh international air passengers have so far been screened and 200 of them have tested positive for COVID-19, Mandaviya said on the sidelines of a book launch.
The minister released a book titled "Braving A Viral Storm", which has been authored by Aashish Chandorkar and Suraj Sudhir, at the Constitution Club here on Wednesday.
"The genome-sequencing of the 200 samples showed that the BF.7 variant was present in several passengers. Our vaccines are effective against this sub-variant," he said.
The health ministry had, on January 9, said the sentinel-sequencing of 324 Covid-positive samples lifted from the community between December 29 and January 7 had revealed the presence of all the Omicron variants, such as BA.2 and its sub-lineages including BA.2.75, XBB(37), BQ.1 and BQ.1.1(5), among others.
No mortality or rise in transmission was reported in the areas where these variants were detected, the ministry had said in a statement.
Besides, XBB(11), BQ.1.1(12) and BF7.4.1(1) were the main variants detected in the positive samples of 50 international passengers that have so far been genome-sequenced.