Wouldn’t that be the most 2020 thing ever: A major mutation in the coronavirus just as we’re getting vaccines rolled out to the general public.
It was only days ago that Britain began showing some concern over the latest news in their COVID-19 pandemic – namely that they had discovered a new strain of the virus. Worse still, this new strain seemed to have a much faster transmission rate, although it is not yet clear as to the deadliness of the new strain or whether or not the currently-available vaccines will protect against it.
Now, more bad news out of Africa.
Another new variant of the coronavirus appears to have emerged in Nigeria, Africa’s top public health official said Thursday, but he added that further investigation was needed.
The discovery could add to new alarm in the pandemic after similar variants were announced in Britain and South Africa, leading to the swift return of international travel restrictions and other measures during a major holiday season.
“It’s a separate lineage from the U.K. and South Africa,” the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, told reporters. He said the Nigeria CDC and the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases would analyze more samples.
“Give us some time…it’s still very early,” he said.
The identification of the apparent new variant was based on two or three genetic sequences, Nkengasong said, but that and South Africa’s alert last week were enough to prompt an emergency meeting of the Africa CDC this week.
Those samples were taken months ago, which could complicate medical experts’ attempts to trace the origins of the new strain.
Become an insider!
Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.