Experts have confirmed the newly imposed nationwide partial lockdown was due to the detection of the B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV-2 in Nigeria.
The variant was detected by the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases( ACEGID) at the Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State, and was communicated to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in a report dated April 25, 2021.
The report by Professor Christian Hapi of the ACEGID to the NCDC read in part, “We have found five sequences of the Indian Covid-19 variant in the country, specifically in Edo and Osun states.”
However, subsequent observations at the time the ACEGID detected the virus showed that the strain had not shown the same kind of viciousness displayed in India.
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.
However, he added that it was imperative that the government acts swiftly by upping testing to avoid an uncontrollable breakout. He revealed that many states have stopped conducting tests.
“The Indian strain is not as fierce in Nigeria yet but we are not doing enough testing,” Tomori said.
India is currently reporting 400,000 cases per day and 157 deaths per hour.