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HomeExclusiveHow Nigeria Can Deal With New Strain Of COVID 19- Expert

How Nigeria Can Deal With New Strain Of COVID 19- Expert

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By Babajide Okeowo

Following the emergence of a new variant of COVID-19, which is 70 percent more contagious in the United Kingdom and other nations, a medical expert has called on the federal government to prioritise local production of therapy.

This, they posited has become imperative because the new strain which is more contagious, could affect the effectiveness of current vaccines.

A vaccinologist and chair, COVID-19 vaccine task team of the African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative, Dr. Simon Agwale, in an earlier interview expressed caution about the danger that the new strain portends.

“According to the British Prime Minister, the mutant strain is ‘growing faster than the existing variants.’ Mutations could, for instance, increase the virus’ death rate, boost its transmission or, potentially, help it evade a vaccine. There is however no evidence to suggest
that the new strain is more lethal or causes more severe illness.

There is also, at least for now no evidence to suggest the current vaccines that have been granted Emergency use Authorizations will be any less effective against the new variant.

If eventually we find out that these mutant strains affect the effectiveness of the current vaccines, then we will be in a situation like the flu virus where new vaccines have to be developed every year because the predominant strain changes annually. If this happens, then we may have endless delays in vaccine supplies because the vaccines would be outdated once they reach Africa, while the West will have access to the newest versions that incorporate the new strains.

This, therefore, makes building local vaccine manufacturing very urgent and should be our number one priority going forward, without which our entire national immunisation programme would be in jeopardy” said Agwale, who is also a former researcher at the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).

Recall that many European countries have started to close their doors to travelers from the United Kingdom after the emergence of the new strain of COVID 19.

The United Kingdom also announced a surprise lockdown on Saturday in London and parts of the country amid a surge in the cases of the coronavirus disease after the discovery of a new strain of the virus.

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