NCDC Prioritises SARS COV-2 Variant Sample Collection

NEWS DIGEST – The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control, NCDC, has continued to prioritise the sample collection from SARS COV-2 positive travellers from countries with reported cases and throughout the world.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Director General of the NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa on November 29, 2021.

According to the Director General, the variant, which was detected in Botswana has not been detected in Nigeria.

Dr Adetifa said “The variant was first identified from testing done on 9th November 2021 in Botswana on travellers in West Africa. It was reported to WHO on identification of cases among a cluster of young unvaccinated people in South Africa on 24 November 2021.

“While this variant has so far NOT been detected in Nigeria, a number of cases have now been reported in the UK, Israel, Botswana, Hong-Kong, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Counting,” the commission added.

The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) alongside the NCDC is abreast of the reports of the new COVID-19 variant-B.11.529 and designated it as variant of concern(VOC).

The World Health Organization named this variant “Omicron” as advised by the Independent Technical Advisory Group on SARS-COV-2 virus Evolution (TAG-VE).

The WHO has urged countries to fasten their surveillance efforts in order to increase understanding of the circulating variant.
However, there are high number of Chang in genes present in the Omicron Variant and surge in COV-19 infections as observed in South Africa.

Against the backdrop, the WHO and researcher all over the world are undertaking research to investigate the impact of the variant on the severity of COV-19 and the potency of existing vaccines and therapeutics.

The NCDC has implored Nigerians to observe the preventive measures approved by the commission through the Presidential Steering Committee on COV-19 briefing.