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COVID-19: New strain confirmed in Nigeria as NCDC calls for calm

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A new strain of the COVID-19 virus has been confirmed in Nigeria.

However, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has called for calm over the development.

1st News reports that the new COVID-19 variant has been detected in 15 other countries as well. However, the NCDC says the new strain, B.1.2.5 which is different from the highly infectious B.1.1.7, is yet to regarded as a variant of concern.

Director-General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Iheakweazu, made this known on Monday.

Specifically, he was speaking during the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja. Dr. Iheakweazu revealed that researchers and scientists were still working hard to ascertain if the new COVID-19 variant had any effect on the virus transmissibility, immunity, as well as diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.

“There is a new variant, the B.1.2.5 which we have begun to detect in Nigeria and 15 other countries.  It is important to note that this variant has not been described as a variant of concern yet.

“Researchers and scientists are still working hard to understand if this variant has any effect on the virus transmissibility, immunity, as well as diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics. This is because the variant has some similar mutations with the B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1 variants; first detected in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, respectively.”

COVID-19

Further, the NCDC boss noted that the agency was  scaling up its  sequencing capacity; adding that it would aid better understanding of the burden of variants of concern in the country.

Also at the briefing, it was revealed that Nigeria may get its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines between now and next week Monday.

Disclosing this was Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib,

“The information we have is that we are likely to get the vaccines within one week. What that means is that we may get them between now and next Monday. But we will not give specific day of arrival until we get such information from the manufacturers.’’

Meanwhile, PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, has warned against patronising the black market for COVID-19 vaccine.

“We therefore plead for patience and vigilance. We also plead with Nigerians not to procure uncertified vaccines from the black market,” he said.

 

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