Nigeria’s top public health official said A New COVID-19 virus variant appears to emerge in Nigeria WEST AFRICA, he also added that further investigation was needed.
This discovery could add to new crises in the pandemic after similar variants have been confirmed and announced in Britain and South Africa, which has led to the changes and International travel restrictions as well as other measures during this holiday season.
John Nkengasong, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDCP), told reporters ``It's a separate lineage from the U.K. and South Africa,''. He said the Nigeria CDC and the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGIE) would analyse more samples.
John Nkengasong said, `Give us some time...it's still very early,' as the identification of the apparent new variant was based on two or three genetic sequences ' but that and South Africa's announcement last week was enough to prompt an emergency meeting of the Africa CDC this week.
This new covid-19 variant in Nigeria was found in two patient samples collected on Aug. 3 and on Oct. 9 in Osun state south-west Nigeria, according to a working research paper seen by The Associated Press.
Unlike the covid-19 variant that has been seen in the U.K., the paper says. `we have never seen such rapid rise of the lineage in Nigeria and do not have evidence to show that the P681H variant is contributing to increased transmission of the virus in Nigeria.
However, the difference in scale of genomic surveillance in Nigeria vs that of the U.K. may imply a reduced power to detect such changes, ``
The news comes as the sudden increase in covid-19 numbers again in parts of the African continent.
While the new covid-19 virus variant in South Africa is now the predominant one there, Nkengasong said, as confirmed infections in the country approach 1 million. While the covid-19 variant transmits very quickly and its viral loads are higher, it is not yet clear whether it leads to more severe disease, he said.
``We believe this mutation would not affect the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa”, he said of the South Africa variant.South Africa's health minister recently announced an alarming rate of spread within the country, with about 14,000 new confirmed cases and more than 400 deaths reported Wednesday. It was the largest single-day increase in cases.
Nigeria now has about 80,000 confirmed covid-19 cases. It also saw a record number of daily cases on Dec. 17 with more than 1,100, and there has been a ``rapid increase'' in infections within the past fortnight, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said this week, citing increased travel and ``minimal compliance with COVID-19 safety measures'' as reasons.
The government just recently imposed some covid-19 virus restrictions, which includes limits on gatherings, and recommended closings of bars, nightclubs and similar venues.
source : Economictimes