The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said a new variant of COVID-19 has been detected 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 yet.
Disclosing this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Monday in Abuja, the NCDC Director-General, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said 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.
Ihekweazu said: “As we shared, 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.
He also said there is a new variant, the B.1.2.5, which we have begun to detect in Nigeria and 15 other countries.
He further said that 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.
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 Ihekweazu, the risk of virus mutation is higher when there is high transmission of the virus.