The new variant of the coronavirus currently causing panic and concern in the United Kingdom and the European Union, has been identified in Nigeria by scientists at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), at the Redeemers University in Ede, Osun State.
The new variant, detected in the UK in September and dubbed “lineage B.1.1.7” has triggered the current exponential spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the larger path of the United Kingdom.
The scientists said on Monday, through a publication in Virological, a website for the global Genomics community, that they found the same variant “lineage B.1.1.7” existing in Osun State Nigeria since August 3rd when the first sample was collected. Another sample, also from Osun State, was collected in October correspondingly showed the presence of this new variant.
“The B.1.1.7 lineage we found in Nigeria, predating the one described in the UK, has also been observed to rise rapidly in the UK over the past four weeks, indicating the plausible increased spread of the virus by specific non-synonymous mutations in the spike protein,” Professor of molecular biology and genomics who is also the Director at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID),Christian Happi said.