This week virologist Sunday Omilabu spent his time in the laboratory doing genetic sequencing to learn more about Nigeria’s coronavirus variant. Cases of patients with the variant continue to increase in Nigeria, and Mr. Omilabu believes the information he gathers will assist in controlling the disease in Nigeria. In the African continent, Nigeria is the most populous nation with at least 196 million people. If the new variant’s infections continue to rise, most fear that the battle to overcome the coronavirus will be lost in Nigeria and the whole African continent.
Coronavirus Variant in Nigeria
This week Nigeria recorded 89,163 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,302 deaths. A health official announced that they so far didn’t know whether the increased infections were of the variants discovered. He added that they only knew that the rates of infections had risen considerably.
The U.K and South Africa have also confirmed variants of the coronavirus in their nations. But virologist Sunday Omilabu discovered that both variants of the virus differed from Nigeria’s variants. Mr. Omilabu told reporters it is not unusual for viruses to mutate and cause variants. The mutations cause the virus to seem like something new that we haven’t been faced with yet.
With increased infections, one person can spread the disease to four or five family members. The increased infections lead to a surge, but health officials and researchers barely have the time to sequence any of those isolates. The practitioners have to devote their time to trying to deal with a large number of incoming patients. But they are finding out that they need to determine whether the variant is causing the increased transmissions now more than ever.
More Coronavirus Variants to Expect
Mr. Omilabu believes that there will be more variants to come. The only thing that will give human beings a fighting chance against the virus is monitoring the virus and sequencing it. Sequencing will help acquire information about what variant is in circulation. Additionally, surveillance or monitoring will need to be increased to determine where the virus is in the environment. Omilabu advised Nigerians across the country to remain more vigilant to stop the spread of the virus as lab work to find out more about the variant continues.
People all across Nigeria, however, seem not to care about the disease at all. Most citizens still go and party or to the club without putting on face masks. The emergence of the new COVID-19 variants is worrying many health officials because people are not taking caution. Research still hasn’t revealed whether the new variant in Nigeria has a higher speed of transmission. Even as viruses having variants is a common thing, variants have increased pathogenicity or higher rate of transmission that are of great concern.
Currently, South Africa’s new virus variant is the most dominant one in the whole African continent. Furthermore, the variant appears to be the most contagious one amongst all those already discovered. With more sequencing of the virus being done, more variants will be found. Moving forward, different government and health experts remain optimistic that the different vaccines developed will remain effective against the variants.