The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has reported it is monitoring the new sub-variants of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, namely EG.5 and BA.2.86.
In a press release issued on Saturday and signed by Director General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, the NCDC highlighted that the new subvariants have yet to make an appearance in Nigeria.
It confirmed that the new variants have already 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 statement reads partly: Our influenza sentinel surveillance sites continue to provide information on COVID-19 prevalence in patients with influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness,”
“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. In addition, COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits are being distributed for the purpose of improving bi-directional COVID-19 testing.”
On Friday, United Kingdom announced the detection of its first case of the new COVID-19 variant, BA.2.86.
It said the case was confirmed in an individual with no recent travel history, which suggests a degree of community transmission within the UK.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US health authorities had, on Thursday, said they were closely monitoring 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 carries.
The World’s economy was practically shut down for months in 2020 following the emergence of COVID -19 in virtually all parts of the World.