Indonesia Found 20 Cases of Omicron BN.1 Subvariant in Riau, Jakarta - A total of 20 cases of the Omicron BN.1 subvariant were found in Indonesia three months ago. It was first reported in Riau Islands, according to the data of the Ministry of Health on 8 December 2022.

The head of the Communication and Community Services Bureau of the Ministry of Health Siti Nadia Tarmizi said that the first BN.1 variant case in the Riau Islands was reported on 16 September 2022. However, the symptoms experienced by the patient have not been conveyed in detail.

BN.1 is a sub-lineage of BA 2.75 which is the derivative of the Omicron variant. In Indonesia, the Omicron variant and its subvariants currently dominate the case compared to other variants such as Delta.

"There are BN.1 cases already. BN.1 is a new subvariant after XBB.1 and BQ.1. The new subvariants exist and all (which are widely spreading) are still Omicron," Nadia said after the "Inauguration of Associate High Leadership Officials and Main Expert Functional Officers" at the Indonesian Ministry of Health Building in Jakarta on Thursday (8/12/2022).

Currently, the Ministry of Health is still monitoring the spread of the BN.1 variant throughout the country. The potential extent of transmission and its characteristics is also being investigated further while looking at developments in other countries that also report BN.1 cases.

"BQ.1, XBB, XBB.1, we can see the increase (of cases) in other countries. Then we found out now, there's another new subvariant—BN.1," Nadia continued. The ministry is currently observing this subvariant.


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Case Spread

According to data from the Ministry of Health on December 8, most reports were found in DKI Jakarta with a total of 9 cases, next, there is Central Java with 5 cases, and Riau Island with 3 cases. North Sumatra, West Kalimantan, and South Kalimantan each reported 1 case.

Globally, the data collected from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that there has been an increase in the findings of BN.1 subvariant cases. Last week, it was 5.1 percent, increasing from 4.4 percent from the previous week.

The Indonesian Ministry of Health data shows that the Omicron BN.1 subvariant was first reported in India at the end of July 2022. Subsequently, this variant was detected in several other countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, Australia, and India.

Furthermore, the ability of the BN.1 variant to transmit is still unknown, but it is assumed that it can dodge the immune system (immunity escape).

Based on data, the highest percentage of BN.1 findings was in the United States with 27 percent, followed by the UK with 14 percent, Australia with 13 percent, Denmark with 7 percent, and Austria with 6 percent.


Writer: Adelina Wahyu Martanti

Fitri Haryanti Harsono contributed to this report.