The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has dismissed reports that the new mutant strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK has been found in Nigeria.
Naija News reports that this was made known on Thursday by the Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Iheakwazu, during the briefing on COVID-19 by the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on the virus.
The NCDC DG advised Nigerians to stay calm and safe, stressing that viruses by their very nature mutate.
Iheakwazu said the NCDC, in collaboration with the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), did some sequencing but did not find the UK variant.
According to the NCDC boss, the COVID-19 variant found in the UK is deadlier than the original strain.
He said: “Over the last few days, we have monitored reports of the virus mutating in the UK, South Africa and some other countries, but it is important to establish some facts about what we know, what we do not know and what we are willing to learn over the next few years.
“We haven’t found the UK strain but it is not something we have been looking for…To find that you have to do sequencing and our focus has not been on sequencing. We did some sequencing in the past but we haven’t found that.
“However, we are doing more sequencing now. Is it possible that they are circulating? Yes. This is because there are a lot of travels between the UK and Nigeria.”