SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant (also known as lineage 6.1.617.2.) has found its way into Nigeria, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed yesterday.
It said a case of the variant was detected in a traveller, following the routine travel test made compulsory for all international travellers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Abuja.
NCDC Director-General Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who confirmed the detection, said the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognizes the Delta variant as a strain of concern, given its increased transmissibility. The variant, which has been detected in more than 90 countries, is expected to spread to others.
It has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation.
There are ongoing studies on its impact on existing vaccines and therapeutics.
Ihekweazu further stated that as part of Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, NCDC has been working with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) and other laboratories within the national network, to carry out genomic sequencing.
“This is to enable the detection of variants of concern and initiate response activities”, the NCDC boss stated.