The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 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, February 22, in Abuja, the NCDC Director-General, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said that 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.
“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. 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,” he said.