The Federal Government has disclosed that it has detected a confirmed case of coronavirus infection with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2, and claimed to be more deadly than other variants of the disease.
It explained that the new variant was detected by Nigerian officials from a traveller into the country after the carrier underwent all require routine travel tests and genomic sequencing for international travellers.
Announcing the development on behalf of the government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said that all relevant authorities have been notified and that the country’s emergency response would be effective in containing the virus.
NCDC Head of Communications, Dr Yahya Disu, through a statement made available to journalists on Thursday, attributed the spread of the Delta variant into Nigeria to a surge in cases of coronavirus in countries where Delta is the dominant strain.
According to him, there are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics and the national travel protocol which includes compulsory seven-day self-isolation and repeat test on the seventh day after arrival, are in place to reduce the risk of spread of the virus.
Disu stated that given the high transmissibility of the Delta variant and following its detection in Nigeria, it was important for Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to public health and social measures in place.
“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,” the statement read.