KUALA LUMPUR: Two main Covid-19 variants – namely BA.5.2 and BF.7 – that account for almost 80% of the variants found in China currently, have been detected in Malaysia.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said as at Dec 31, there were 4,148 cases infected with BA.5.2 and three cases infected with BF.7 in the country.
However, Noor Hisham clarified that there was no data to link serious cases or deaths to the BA.5.2 and BF.7 variants.
“Both variants are listed as sublineage Omicron BA.5 and have not been linked as lineage under monitoring (LUM) by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“However, both the BA.5.2 and BF.7 variants are believed to have been caused by recurring cases or those who have a high chance of contracting the variant due to a high number of cases in China,” he said in a statement today.
According to Noor Hisham, the situation will be monitored from time to time and when there are drastic changes that need strategic measures to ensure public health, it will be announced immediately by WHO.
The BF.7 variant which is an abbreviation for BA.220.127.116.11, originated from the Omicron BA.5 variant and was first diagnosed in July 2022.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said genomic surveillance of Sars-CoV-2 in Malaysia throughout December 2022 showed that the XBB variant was dominant in the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
The XBB variant made up 55.4% of the positive tests followed by the BA.2.75 variant (20.8%) and BQ.1 variant (10.8%).
“This shows that the XBB variant is the main variant that is spreading among Malaysians since October 2022,” he said.