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New COVID variants not in Nigeria… no need to panic, says NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says there is no need to panic over new COVID-19 variants.

AUTHOR:

Jesupemi Are


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says there is no need to panic over new COVID-19 variants.

In a statement on Saturday, the agency said it is monitoring the new subvariants of the Omicron variant named EG.5 and BA.2.86.

The agency said the EG.5 variant is a descendant of XBB.1.9.2 which is itself a descendant of Omicron.

NCDC said the variant has been reported in 51 countries including China, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, France, Portugal and Spain.

“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 statement reads.

“So far, only one case of EG.5 has been seen in Africa, it has not been identified in Nigeria.

“The recently discovered/reported BA.2.86 is a descendent lineage of BA.2 (a sublineage of Omicron, also found in Nigeria in 2022).

“As of August 23, 2023, the BA.2.86 variant had been reported in a handful of countries — the United Kingdom, Israel, Denmark, South Africa, and the United States.

“It has been classified by the WHO as a ‘variant under monitoring’ (VUM).

“Since there are few cases identified so far, there is not enough information to make conclusive assessments of virulence, transmission, and severity.

“However, we do not expect it to be much different from other Omicron descendants currently circulating.”

The NCDC said although the ancestor BA.2 had been previously found in Nigeria, no BA.2.86 variant has been identified in the country.

“We have not observed any increase in trend of COVID-19 in this patient group,” the statement reads.

“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 to the NCDC for sequencing.

“We urge fellow citizens including media practitioners to act responsibly and share only verified information. There is no need to cause unnecessary anxiety and panic.”

The Cable

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