The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday 12 May 2021 disclosed that the so-called Indian variant of coronavirus has now been detected in 44 countries in all six WHO regions.
The UN health agency based its findings on 4,500 samples uploaded on an open-access database.
The variant, which is known as B.1.617, is believed to be one of several factors behind the massive outbreak in infections across India. Outside of India, the UK has reported the highest number of COVID
Also the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has has confirmed the Indian variant in Nigeria.
India has record a record number of people killed by the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, pushing its death toll over 250,000..
Deaths from COVID-19 swelled by 4,205, while daily coronavirus cases rose 348,421, with India’s overall number of cases surging past 23 million, according to the Indian Health Ministry.
About one-third of reported new coronavirus infection worldwide occur in India
Meanwhile the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in the Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State nearly three weeks ago confirmed the Indian variant in Nigeria.
Recall that the Federal Government on Monday restricted gatherings at worship centres and banned nightclubs following reports that the devastating COVID-19 strain in South Africa had spread to 23 other countries.
The detection had been listed on GISAID, a global science initiative that provided open access to genomic data of influenza viruses.
A notification dated April 25, 2021, sent by Professor Christian Hapi of the ACEGID to the NCDC read in part, “We have found five sequences of the India B.1.617 in the country, specifically in Edo and Osun states.”
Hapi, however, clarified that strain in India has two more mutations than the one identified in Nigeria which makes the one in India more aggressive.
“What we have is the B1.617 from India. That is the variant they had but that variant has now evolved beyond the mutation that we identified.
“The one India evolved by two mutations. It is the same strain with India but their own now has a couple of mutations. So, it is the same as what we detected but also different in characteristics.”
Virologist and Chairman, Expert Review Committee on COVID-19, Professor Oyewale Tomori, said that he was also aware of the detection of the Indian strain.
Tomori said it was important for the government to announce the detection of the Indian strain.
He further said there was a need to increase testing, adding that many states were no longer conducting test for COVID-19.
“The Indian strain is not as fierce in Nigeria yet but we are not doing enough testing,” Tomori said.
When asked what the government should do next, Tomori said he was satisfied with the decision of the Federal Government to step up enforcement.
“They have already done what needs to be done by issuing travel guidelines on passengers from India, Brazil and Turkey plus the curfew and others announced on Monday. Perhaps, there should be an announcement that the Indian strain is already in Nigeria,” Tomori added.