The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Monday reported a new variant of COVID-19 has been discovered in Nigeria and 15 other countries.
The new strain, B.1.2.5 which is different from the highly infectious B.1.1.7 has, however, not been described as a variant of concern.
Disclosing this at the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, the NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Iheakwazu, said researchers and scientists were still working hard to understand if this variant had any effect on the virus transmissibility, immunity, as well as diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.
He stated, “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.”
Iheakwazu stated that the NCDC was scaling up its sequencing capacity to have a better understanding of the burden of variants of concern in the country.