A new COVID strain started to create waves among virus trackers this week, outpacing nearly all other variants of interest scientists are tracking in the U.S. this autumn. 

The Omicron spawn, which scientists have named BF.7—short for BA.—comprised 1.7% of sequenced infections last week in the U.S., according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other variants jockeying for the top spot right now—held by BA.5, at 85%—include BA.4.6, which comprised 10.3% of infections, and BA.2.75, which comprised 1.3%.

Scientists are taking notice of BF.7 because it’s making headway in an increasingly crowded field of Omicron subvariants. For months they’ve watched BA.2.75—dubbed Centaurus by the Twitterverse—as a variant of interest with potential to surge this fall. But this week, BF.7 surpassed it. 

Potentially more transmissible than BA.5

BF.7 is only beginning to grow off in the U.S., but it’s already taken off in other countries.

Updated fit of global SARS-CoV2 lineage frequencies based on all @GISAID + @CovidGenomicsUK data, now with BF.7 / BA. represented separately. BA.2.75 still predicted to overtake in many places, but BA. has similar advantage over plain BA.5, so different outcomes.🧵

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