July 24, 2024

Nigeria disease control agency breaks silence on new COVID-19 variant

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has cleared the air on the new EG.5 and BA.2.86 subvariants of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


The NCDC in a statement issued on Saturday explained that the subvariants have not been confirmed in the country.


The agency said the new variants have been reported in 51 countries including China, the United States of America, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, and Spain.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US health authorities had, on Thursday, announed that efforts are ongoing to monitor a new variant of COVID-19, although the potential impact of BA.2.86 is currently unknown.


WHO designated the COVID-19 variant BA.2.86 as a ‘variant under monitoring’ due to the large number of mutations it comes with.


The new variant has similar symptoms as others.


“EG.5 causes symptoms like those seen with other COVID-19 variants, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, and sore throat,” the NCDC said.


The NCDC control room stated that its COVID-19 Technical Working Group is keeping an eye on COVID-19 epidemiology at all levels, including local, regional, continental, and global, as well as new variants.


The NCDC said “We have not observed any increase in the trend of COVID-19 in this patient group.


“We continue to carry out genomics surveillance even with the low testing levels and encourage testing locations in states to ensure their positive samples are sent on to the NCDC for sequencing.


“Unrelated to the news of these emerging variants, the NCDC and partners are working on implementing an enhanced COVID-19 testing exercise in four states to obtain complementary and more detailed information about circulating variants in the country.”


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