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Indian COVID-19 strain now in Nigeria, Disease Center warns

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The African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) at the Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State, has raised an alarm that the Indian COVID-19 strain which has been ravaging the Asian country leading to the death of thousands, has been found in Nigeria.

According to the Centre in a statement on Tuesday, the strain was detected nearly three weeks ago and had been communicated to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The detection of the strain has also been listed on GISAID, a global science initiative that provides open access to genomic data of influenza viruses.

A notification dated April 25, 2021, sent by Professor Christian Hapi of the ACEGID to the NCDC read in part;

“We have found five sequences of the India B.1.617 in the country, specifically in Edo and Osun states.”

Professor Hapi, however, clarified that the strain in India has two more mutations than the one identified in Nigeria which makes the one in India more aggressive.

“What we have is the B1.617 from India. That is the variant they had but that variant has now evolved beyond the mutation that we identified.

Read also: Indian COVID-19 cases surpass 20 million mark

“The one in India has evolved by two mutations. It is the same strain with India but their own now has a couple of mutations. So, it is the same as what we detected but also different in characteristics.”

A Virologist and Chairman, Expert Review Committee on COVID-19, Professor Oyewale Tomori, also noted that he was also aware of the detection of the Indian strain.

Tomori said it was important for the government to announce the detection of the Indian strain to Nigerians so that citizens will know the steps to take to secure themselves.

“The Indian strain is not as fierce in Nigeria yet but we are not doing enough testing.

“They have already done what needs to be done by issuing travel guidelines on passengers from India, Brazil and Turkey, plus the recent curfew and restrictions announced on Monday.

“Perhaps, there should be an announcement that the Indian strain is already in Nigeria,” Tomori added.

By Isaac Dachen…

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