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NCDC confirms COVID-19 Delta variant in Nigeria

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Thursday a confirmed case of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant of COVID-19 has been reported in the country.

The agency’s Head of Communication, Dr. Yahya Disu, who disclosed this in the statement in Abuja, said the variant was detected in a passenger who arrived the country from abroad.

He said the deadly COVID-19 strain was detected after the passenger was subjected to a routine test recommended for all international travellers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Abuja.

Disu said the variant had also been linked to a surge in COVID-19 cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation.

The variant has been reported in over 90 countries including Brazil, India and South Africa.

The Federal Government had earlier this year imposed travel restrictions on passengers from the three countries in a bid to check the spread of variants of concern to Nigeria.

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He said: “There are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics. As part of Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, NCDC has been working with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, and other laboratories within the national network, to carry out genomic sequencing.

“This is to enable the detection of variants of concern, and initiate response activities. All data on variants from Nigeria have been published on GISAID, a global mechanism for sharing sequencing data. Given the global risk of spread of the Delta variant, positive samples from international travellers to Nigeria are sequenced regularly.”

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