Another New Variant of Coronavirus Discovered in Nigeria

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Another new variant of the novel coronavirus seems to have emerged in Nigeria, according to Reuters report.

The Reuters Thursday quoting the Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, saying more investigation was needed.

The is coming after reports that Britain and South Africa reported new variants of the virus that appear to be more contagious.

“It’s a separate lineage from the UK and the South African lineages,” Nkengasong was quoted to have told a virtual news conference from Addis Ababa, noting that the discovery of the new variants prompted an emergency meeting of the centre this week.

COVID-19 cases in both Nigeria and South Africa are rising with Nigeria reporting a 52 per cent increase in cases and South Africa 40 percent in the past week.

Nkengasong however noted that there was no evidence the new variant was contributing to increased transmission in Nigeria, but cautioned the country did less genomic surveillance than Britain.

He said Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases in Nigeria would study more samples.

According to him, Nigeria’s principal COVID-19 investigator just released publicly the genomic sequences of the new variant. Reuters however said CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Nkengasong’s remarks.

Nigeria CDC’s Director General Chikwe Ihekweazu Thursday in a tweetd said, “Over recent weeks, we’ve had a huge increase in number of samples to reference lab,” adding, “This has led to an unusual delay with testing, but we’re working round the clock.”