55 Covid-19 Variants, Including the Malicious UK Variant Spreading Rapidly in Nigeria, Infectious Disease Researcher Says
An expert in medical research in Nigeria has told Timescape Magazine that no fewer than 55 variants of Covid-19 are currently ravaging the most populous black nation in the world.
Prof. Christian Happi, the Director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) made the revelation during an interview at his office that each of the variants has its own potency and dangerous impact on the human body, but the newly discovered B 1.1.7, which was first reported in the United Kingdom and is popularly known as UK Covid-19 is the deadliest.
According to Prof. Happi, there are 55 variants of Covid-19 circulating in Nigeria now, and the UK variant is among them.
“Let me tell you that there are over a thousand Covid-19 variants circulating all over the world out of which Nigeria has 55. It is likely that as time goes on, we will be seeing more variants in circulation,” he says.
He adds that the UK variant is one that is most concerning because it could be associated with higher transmission which translates into increased morbidity and mortality.
“I can tell you that this variant has continued to gain ground in Nigeria now. As of today, we have it in six different states in Nigeria. We have identified this UK variant in Abuja, Lagos, Kwara, Osun, Oyo, and Edo States. We have also been able to identify that this variant is being transmitted through community transmission,” he adds.
The Director of the only centre in Nigeria that can do this kind of analysis also says the UK variant invades human cells 70 per cent faster than the other 54 implying one’s organs deteriorate quickly.
In addition to the information gathered in the laboratories by ACEGID, Prof. Happi says conversations with patient managers reveal that Nigeria now has more severe cases and the deaths have increased.
“I think the earlier we take this issue very seriously the better,” he warns.