The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said that a new variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Nigeria.
Ihekweazu while speaking at Monday’s weekly briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 said the new variant dubbed B.1.525 was first discovered in a sample collected on November 23 from a patient in Lagos State.
He said the B.1.525 variant, which has spread to a few other countries, has not been classified as a variant of concern.
“So far, this has been detected among cases in five states in Nigeria. B.1.525 cases have also been reported in other countries in travellers from Nigeria,” a statement by the infectious disease agency shows.
He said researchers and scientists are working hard to understand if the variant has any impact on transmissibility, severity, immunity, diagnostic and already approved vaccines.
Mr Ihekweazu said Nigeria is scaling up its sequencing capacity to help it understand ongoing transmission.
He said about 100 samples will be sent to the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), at the Redeemers University in Ede, Osun State for sequencing every week.
The NCDC boss urged the public to continue to adhere to all non pharmaceutical measures put in place to limit spread of the virus.