NCDC: Rapid mutations, new changes escalating coronavirus cases



The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has said the rapid mutations and new changes of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) have led to escalation of cases in many countries.


Its Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this at the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) briefing on Monday in Abuja.


According to him, it is in this mutations and new changes that new variants emerge and those variants have led to the most rapid escalation of cases as we have seen in many countries.

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”The virus changing, the more it is transmitted, the more it develops more mutations, the more it develops the capacity to move from one individual to the other,” he said.


Ihekweazu said that Nigerians should look at the curves in other countries.


”What that tells us is that, if we are to face a situation like that, we will not have the time to prepare.


”We have to use the opportunity the virus gives us now to prepare while also trying to prevent.

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“To do that, we have to understand what happens within the virus by consistently testing people.


”We have sustained our testing effort to between 30,000 and 40,000 tests a week and the two million mark a little bit later than we anticipated is still good progress,” he explained.


Ihekweazu said that the other aspect is to identify the variant which could only be done with a technique called sequencing.


“We have now sequenced about 700 across the country, not enough but a fair bit, given how complex it is to do that.

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”I want to thank our colleagues at the African Centre for Genomics in Ede, who have been supporting the country on sequencing,” he said.


Ihekweazu disclosed that the country’s focus is to scale up capacity in the next few weeks.


He said: “As we continue to understand the virus, we will understand what we need to do about the virus.

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