Panic Not, We are Monitoring New COVID-19 Subvariants- NCDC



COVID-19 subvariant


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has advised Nigerians not to panic over the outbreak of new COVID-19 subvariants- EG.5 and BA.2.86, in some countries, saying it is monitoring the development.

The agency disclosed on Saturday in a statement signed by its Director General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, that the new subvariants of SARS-CoV-2 virus are not in Nigeria.

This is as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified EG.5 as a “variant of interest” (VOI) and BA.2.86 as a “variant under monitoring” (VUM).  With risk assessment validating EG.5 poses a low risk at the global level.

Adetifa said the NCDC’s COVID-19 Technical Working Group (COVID-19 TWG) is closely monitoring COVID-19 epidemiology, locally, regionally continentally and globally, including emerging variants.

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“So far, only one case of EG.5 has been seen in Africa, it has not been identified in Nigeria.

“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, diabetes, those on cancer treatment, organ transplant recipients and those whose immune systems are suppressed for one reason or the other.

“Our influenza sentinel surveillance sites continue to provide information on COVID-19 prevalence in patients with influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness”, he stated.

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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.

He said the recently discovered/reported BA.2.86 is a descendent lineage of BA.2 – a sublineage of Omicron, that was found in Nigeria in 2022.

BA.2.86 has been classified by the WHO as a “variant under monitoring” (VUM) because it has multiple genetic differences that make it substantially different from its ancestor, BA.2 and from other currently circulating XBB-derived SARS-CoV-2 variants.

He noted that as of 7 August 2023, the EG.5 has been reported in fifty-one (51) countries including China, the United States of America, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Spain etc.

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While the BA.2.86 variant had been reported in a handful of countries, as of August 23, 2023, including the United Kingdom, Israel, Denmark, South Africa, and the United States.

Adetifa revealed that the agency 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 the meantime, the NCDC boss urged Nigerians to protect themselves, friends, and families, while keeping safe.


















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