New COVID-19 Strain Discovered In Nigeria

A new COVID-19 strain has been found in Osun State, Southwest Nigeria.

The strain was found after two to three sequencing by a group of researchers.

Dr. John Nkengasong, Head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control made the revelation in a Press Conference on Thursday. He said the new variant is different from those seen in the UK and in South Africa.

He added that the new strain has not caused enough infections to know its rate of infectivity.

It’s a separate lineage from the UK and South Africa,”

Nkengasong said the Africa CDC and the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Ede, Osun State will work more on the new strains to have a more viable opinion of its characteristics.

“Give us some time … it’s still very early,” he said.

“We haven’t observed such rapid rise of the lineage in Nigeria and do not have evidence to indicate that the P681H variant is contributing to increased transmission of the virus in Nigeria. However, the relative difference in scale of genomic surveillance in Nigeria vs the UK may imply a reduced power to detect such changes,” he added.

The new strain is yet to be identified as the reason for the surge in numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria with a record daily case incidence recorded on Tuesday. Nigeria has become a hotspot for the first time since COVID-19 was reported in Africa and this meets government’s decision to close public spaces.

South Africa, by far Africa’s worst affected country has recorded almost a million cases, with a daily highest of 14,000 recorded on Wednesday. There were also 400 deaths.

Nkengasong in the briefing said the vaccine will not be affected by mutations going on in the SARS-COV-2. He said there are no proofs to make such conclusions.

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