COVID-19 strain in Nigeria: All you need to know about the new coronavirus

  • The presence of a new strain in Nigeria emerged after two or three genetic sequences appeared in COVID-19 tests, said Africa Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director

A new variant of the COVID-19 has been detected in Nigeria, says the Africa CDC director John Nkengasong. He stated that this new strain that has emerged in Africa is different from that detected in the UK. He added further that investigations are needed.

“It’s a separate lineage from the UK and the South African lineages,” John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told an online news conference from Addis Ababa.

This comes after South Africa and Britain both reported the new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This new strain appears to be more contagious and thus is leading to another new set of travel restrictions and turmoil in the market.

“Give us some time… it’s still very early,” says Nkengasong stating that Nigeria’s CDC and the African Center for Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases would analyze more samples.

To determine the source and other related information about the mutation, the public health officials of Nigeria are carrying out investigations. Nkengasong said any further details about the new strain would be shared in the upcoming days, emphasizing that people should be cautious.

Nigeria alone has reported a 52 per cent increase in the new COVID-19 cases in the past week. According to Nkengasong, there is no evidence to suggest that the new strain is causing higher cases in the country. However, Nigeria CDC and African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases in Nigeria will be conducting a study on more samples to determine whether the new variant is the cause for higher transmission. A surge in infection has been reported by the Nigerian CDC.

The new variant has been termed as ‘super-spreaders’. Considering the population in Nigeria which is over 200 million, it is already in a state of high-risk massive mass transmission. The condition of living could be one of the factors for it. Nigeria’s stats stand to over 80,000 cases so far with over 1,200 deaths. And due to the new variant, Nigeria can rapidly shoot up the total number of COVID-19 cases in the entire Africa, which is already reporting more than 2 million infections.

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