After UK, South Africa, new strain of coronavirus detected in Nigeria

After the United Kingdom and South Africa have reported new variants of the coronavirus, it is Nigeria’s turn, where epidemiologists have detected the pathogen with a particular mutation.

African virologists announce that they have detected in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, a new mutation of the coronavirus that appears to be different from those previously discovered in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

“This [variant, editor’s note] that we see in Nigeria, and this is based on still very limited data, has a 501 mutation. It appears to be a different strain, not the same as in the UK and South Africa. But again, this is based on two or three genetic sequences. We need to expand our studies in Nigeria,” said John Nkengasong, director of the African Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Africa CDC), on a video conference from Addis Ababa.

According to the Associated Press, this new variant was found in two samples collected between August 3 and October 9 in Osun state. The document the agency was able to view says there is no evidence the strain can spread as quickly as the one found in the UK.

As data from the Africa CDC indicate, Nigeria has experienced 80,922 cases of contamination and 1,236 deaths since the start of the epidemic. Nine hundred and three thousand eight hundred tests have been carried out in this seventh most populous country globally, which has nearly 214 million inhabitants.

New strains

British health authorities had previously announced a new variant of the coronavirus which is said to be up to 70% more contagious than the strain that was initially circulating in the United Kingdom.

The news prompted dozens of countries, including France and Russia, to temporarily cancel flights from the British Isles.

Subsequently, genomics researchers in South Africa discovered another particular variant called 501.V2.

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