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NCDC: No New COVID-19 Variants Detected in Nigeria



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) is keeping a close watch on two new versions of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, known as EG.5 and BA.2.86.

In a statement released on Saturday and authorized by the Director General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, the NCDC pointed out that these fresh sub-variants have not been detected in Nigeria as of now.

What the NCDC is saying 

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:  

  • “Our influenza sentinel surveillance sites continue to provide information on COVID-19 prevalence in patients with influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness,” 
  • “We have not observed any increase in trend of COVID-19 in this patient group. We continue to carry out genomics surveillance even with the low testing levels and encourage testing locations in states to ensure their positive samples are sent on to the NCDC for sequencing.” 
  • “Unrelated to the news of these emerging variants, the NCDC and partners are working on implementing an enhanced COVID-19 testing exercise in four states to obtain complementary and more detailed information about circulating variants in the country. In addition, COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits are being distributed for the purpose of improving bi-directional COVID-19 testing.” 

The NCDC also added that there is no need to cause unnecessary anxiety and panic. 

  • “There is no need to cause unnecessary anxiety and panic. As we have consistently advised, COVID-19 is here to stay and is now mainly a problem for those at high risk – the elderly, those with underlying chronic illnesses, especially hypertension, and diabetes, those on cancer treatment, organ transplant recipients and those whose immune systems are suppressed for one reason or the other.” 


The new variant is now in 51 countries 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on August 9, 2023, that EG.5, a descendant lineage of XBB.1.9.2, and its sub-lineages are now classified as a variant of interest. 

EG.5, a sublineage of the Omicron variant, has been identified in 51 countries including prominent ones like China, the United States, Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, the UK, France, Portugal, and Spain.  

EG.5 causes symptoms like those seen with other COVID-19 variants, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, and sore throat. 

The WHO’s risk assessment indicates that the EG.5 variant poses a low global risk.  

So far, only one case of EG.5 has been seen in Africa, it has not been identified in Nigeria, the NCDC said, adding that although BA.2 has been previously found in Nigeria, no BA.2.86 variant has been identified in Nigeria.