Alice Brown
Sun, Aug 27, 2023 10:20 AM

Nigeria's NCDC Assures No Cause for Alarm over Omicron Subvariants

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Nigeria's NCDC Assures No Cause for Alarm over Omicron Subvariants
Nigeria's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has stated that the emergence of the Omicron subvariants EG.5 and BA.2.86 poses no significant cause for alarm. The NCDC assures that there is nothing significantly new with these variants, noting that COVID-19 remains primarily a problem for high-risk individuals. It also emphasizes the importance of responsible media reporting and urges citizens to rely on verified information to avoid unnecessary panic.

Nigeria's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has addressed concerns regarding the emergence of two subvariants of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, namely EG.5 and BA.2.86. According to the NCDC, there is no need for alarm as there is nothing significantly new with these variants.

The NCDC's Director General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, emphasized that COVID-19 is primarily a problem for those at high risk, such as the elderly and individuals with underlying chronic illnesses. He urged media practitioners and citizens to act responsibly and share only verified information to prevent unnecessary anxiety and panic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the EG.5 variant as a "variant of interest" (VOI). Despite this classification, a risk assessment conducted by the WHO determined that it poses a low global risk. The NCDC also stated that the EG.5 variant has not shown any change in symptoms, severity, or difference in death rates in reporting countries.

The EG.5 variant has been reported in over 50 countries, including China, the United States, Japan, and various European countries. It is important to note that only one case of EG.5 has been seen in Africa, and it has not been identified in Nigeria.

The recently discovered BA.2.86 variant is a lineage descendant of BA.2, which is a sublineage of Omicron. While the BA.2 variant has been previously found in Nigeria, the BA.2.86 variant has not been identified within the country.

As the variants have only been identified in a few cases thus far, there is currently limited information available about their virulence, transmission, and severity. However, the NCDC does not anticipate these variants to be significantly different from other descendants of the Omicron variant that are currently circulating.

The NCDC advised that it will continue to provide scientifically sound and evidence-based updates on any changes in the SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology. They highlighted the importance of ongoing surveillance and monitoring efforts to gather more information about these emerging subvariants.

In addition to monitoring the variants, the NCDC is implementing enhanced COVID-19 testing exercises in four states to obtain more detailed information about circulating variants in Nigeria. They are also distributing COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits to improve bi-directional testing and prompt identification of high-risk cases.

As a general preventive mechanism, the NCDC urges prompt testing for individuals experiencing febrile illness and respiratory symptoms. They also encourage the use of masks in crowded and high-risk situations. These measures aim to help identify cases at a high risk of severe illness and to minimize the spread of the virus.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-27 News

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