Coronavirus | New variant found in Nigeria, says Africa’s disease control body

A woman wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, walks at a market in Lagos, Nigeria, on Dec. 24, 2020. Africa’s top public health official says another new variant of the coronavirus appears to have emerged in Nigeria.   | Photo Credit: AP

Another new variant of the novel coronavirus seems to have emerged in Nigeria, the head of Africa’s disease control body said on Thursday, cautioning more investigation was needed.

The news comes after Britain and South Africa both reported new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that appear to be more contagious.

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

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The detection of the new variants in Nigeria and South Africa prompted an emergency meeting of the Africa CDC this week, Mr. Nkengasong said.

The news comes as cases are surging in both Nigeria and South Africa. In the past week, Nigeria reported a 52% increase in cases and South Africaa 40% increase, Mr. Nkengasong said.

He said there was no evidence the new variant was contributing to increased transmission in Nigeria, but cautioned the country does less genomic surveillance than Britain.

Nigeria’s principal COVID-19 investigator has just released publicly the genomic sequences of the new variant, he added.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 3:12:30 PM |

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