New coronavirus version, this time in Nigeria

Another new coronavirus strain is found in Nigeria, Africa.

Iran PressAfrica: Africa’s top public health official said on Thursday that a new strain of the coronavirus has been found in Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country.

As Associated Press reports, Jhon Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters the new strain had been identified based on two or three genetic sequences, prompting an emergency meeting of officials this week.

“It’s a separate lineage from the UK and South Africa,” said Nkengasong, adding: “Give us some time ... it’s still very early.”

According to a research paper obtained by the AP, the new strain was found in samples from two patients collected in August and October in Nigeria’s Osun State. The news service noted that the COVID-19 variant differed from one found in the UK.

“We haven’t observed such rapid rise of the lineage in Nigeria and do not have evidence to indicate that the P681H variant is contributing to increased transmission of the virus in Nigeria,” said the research paper, adding: “However, the relative difference in scale of genomic surveillance in Nigeria vs the UK may imply a reduced power to detect such changes."

Nkengasong said it was still not known whether the new coronavirus strain led to more severe symptoms, though he noted it transmits quicker and has a higher viral load.


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