New COVID-19 mutant already in Nigeria – Experts

The new Covid-19 mutant has been allegedly identified in Nigeria weeks after reports of the variation was identified in the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The mutant was identified in Nigeria by scientists at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), at the Redeemers University in Ede, Osun State, Premium Times reports.

The new variant, detected in the UK in September and dubbed “lineage B.1.1.7” has triggered the current exponential spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the larger path of the United Kingdom, leading to a travel ban on the UK by some countries and a stay-at-home tier-4 level restriction in the affected paths of the country.

Now, scientists at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Ede, in South West Nigeria, said Monday, through a publication in Virological, a website for the global Genomics community, that they found the same variant “lineage B.1.1.7” existing in Osun State Nigeria since August 3rd when the first sample was collected.
Another sample, also from Osun State, collected in October, correspondingly showed the presence of this new variant.

According to Christian Happi, Professor of molecular biology and genomics who is also the Director at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), “the B.1.1.7 lineage we found in Nigeria, predating the one described in the UK, has also been observed to rise rapidly in the UK over the past four weeks, indicating the plausible increased spread of the virus by specific non-synonymous mutations in the spike protein.”

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