The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)has announced that the deadly SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant has been found in Nigeria.
In a statement on Thursday by its Head of Communications, Dr. Yahya Disu, the NCDC said it detected the variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2, in a traveller who came to Nigeria.
Disu stated that the variant was detected after a routine travel test was conducted on all international travellers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.
The NCDC spokesman noted that the variant had also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation.
According to the NCDC, the variant has been detected in over 90 countries and is expected to spread to more countries.
The statement reads: “There are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics. As part of Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, NCDC has been working with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, 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. All data on variants from Nigeria have been published on GISAID, a global mechanism for sharing sequencing data. Given the global risk of spread of the Delta variant, positive samples from international travellers to Nigeria are sequenced regularly.
“The Federal Government through the Presidential Steering Committee had initiated several measures to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19.
“The measures include the introduction of travel restrictions from countries where there is a surge in cases associated with the widespread prevalence of variants of concern.
“The national travel protocol which includes compulsory seven-day self-isolation and repeat test on the seventh day after arrival, are in place to reduce the risk of spread of the virus.
“It is very important that this is strictly adhered to, to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria. Given the high transmissibility of the Delta variant and following its detection in Nigeria, NCDC urges all Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to public health and social measures in place.”