New Covid-19 variant discovered in Nigeria, 15 countries – NCDC

…’AstraZeneca vaccines to arrive within one week’– FG

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has said that a new variant of Covid-19 has been detected in Nigeria and 15 other countries.

Disclosing this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 briefing yesterday in Abuja, the NCDC Director-General Chikwe Iheakweazu, said that researchers and scientists were still working hard to understand if the variant had any effect on the virus’ transmissibility, immunity as well as diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.

“As we shared the vaccines, a total of 54 cases with the B.1.1.7 variant strain, which is a variant of concern first described in the UK, have been detected in Nigeria. 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”, he stated.

The NCDC boss stated that the agency was scaling-up its sequencing capacity to have a better understanding of the burden of variants of concern in the country. According to him, the risk of virus mutation is higher when there is a high transmission of the virus.

The NCDC boss added that the September and October 2020 household prevalence surveys carried out in Lagos, Enugu, Nasarawa, and Gombe States revealed the level of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among the population.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has assured the highly expected AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine may likely arrive in one week based on latest information. The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shu’aib, disclosed this in Abuja during the briefing of the PTF on Covid-19.

It added 4 million out of the 16 million expected doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in the first batch of supplies. However, it stressed it has no control over the exact date of arrival of the vaccines as only the manufacturers can determine that.

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