New virus strain found in Africa from patient samples collected months ago

The new variant adds to the growing list of new strains also found in the UK and South Africa.

Published: December 24, 2020 10:08am

Updated: December 24, 2020 11:38am

New strains of Covid-19 continue to appear around the globe, and the most recent finding was located by the Africa CDC in Nigeria. 

As much of the world begins holiday celebrations in the final days of 2020, the possible new strain could lead to even more restrictions as it is investigated by health officials. Britain and South Africa have discovered variants of the virus in recents days as well.

The new African variant was found in two patient samples taken on Aug. 3 and on Oct. 9 in Nigeria, according to the Associated Press. With the likelihood of many strains floating around the world for months, the fact that viruses always mutate and create different strains has been known. With concerns over differing genetic sequences and news of a second strain in South Africa, the Africa CDC held an emergency meeting to address concerns over a possible new strain.

“It’s a separate lineage from the UK and South Africa,” the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, said. “Give us some time ... it’s still very early."

Nkengasong added that they do not believe the South African mutation will have an effect on the deployment of the Covid-19 vaccine. 

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