The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised concerns over the new variants of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Africa.
Naija News reports that South Africa recently detected a new SARS-CoV-2 variant, which appears to transmit more quickly and is likely linked to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 infections in the country.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, warned countries to boost genomic surveillance and conduct analysis through the African genome sequencing laboratory network to detect any new mutations and strengthen efforts to curb the pandemic.
“The emergence of new Coronavirus variants is common. However, those with higher speed of transmission or potentially increased pathogenicity are very concerning”, he said.
“Crucial investigations are underway to comprehensively understand the behaviour of the new mutant virus and steer response accordingly.”
South Africa has carried out most of the 4,948 sequences and has identified 35 SARS-CoV-2 lineages.
Nigeria is also carrying out more investigations on a variant identified in samples collected in August and October.
The new cases of COVID-19 infection were confirmed via a statement on the official Twitter handle of the health agency.
This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria to 85,560 which includes 71,937 discharged cases and 1,267 deaths.