By our Reporter
As anxiety continues to build over possible resurgence of the dreaded Coronavirus disease, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said Nigeria is currently monitoring the global COVID-19 epidemiology as it affects the upsurge in China, the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), South Africa, India, and other countries.
It can be recalled that the COVID-19 upsurge in China has been a matter of public health concern in Nigeria following measures taken by other countries to check import of the variant of the virus from Asian country.
In a statement signed by the Director General of the NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, it was stated that the findings showed that sub-lineages partly responsible for the current increase in COVID-19 cases in China and other countries such as XBB.1.5 and BF.7 were yet to be detected in the country.
This issued statement titled: “Update on COVID-19 Genomic Surveillance in view of the Rising Cases of COVID-19 in Hotspot Countries,” linked the resurgence of COVID-19 in China to the relaxation of the country’s zero-COVID policy, as well as significantly increased COVID-19 cases, admissions, and deaths in the UK and the USA over the past weeks driven in part by the usual winter exacerbations of respiratory illnesses.
Adetifa said, “Consequently, we continue to monitor global COVID-19 epidemiology including genomics data as part of the ongoing pandemic response.
He added, “The NCDC-led COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is monitoring COVID-19 trends in China, the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), South Africa, India, and other countries with a high volume of traffic to and from Nigeria.”
Furthermore, the NCDC said before the recent case of increase in China, the USA, the UK and other countries, genomic surveillance had shown that the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant and its lineages continued to dominate in recorded infections worldwide.
It, however, said the rise in the new Omicron sub-lineages XBB.1.5 in the UK and the US, and BF.7 in China had become a matter of concern as it may spread faster than older Omicron sub-lineages, adding that they are responsible in part for current increases in cases, hospitalisations, and deaths.
And it posited that, “However, the sub-lineage seen with cases in China, B.5.2.1 and BF.7 are responsible for the surge in China and does not appear to be increasing unusually in other countries.
Meanwhile, it said again that, “The NCDC continues to strengthen genomic surveillance of the COVID-19 virus in Nigeria. Since the detection of the Omicron variant in December 2021, its sub-lineage (BQ.1/BQ.1.1) has been dominant in Nigeria.
It stressed that, “None of these dominant sub-lineages in Nigeria that are also circulating elsewhere has been associated with any increases in case numbers, admissions, or deaths locally”.
Then, of course, the NCDC further said that the sub-lineages partly responsible for the current increase in COVID-19 cases in other countries i.e., XBB.1.5 and BF.7 have not yet been detected in the country but B.5.2.1 has been seen in Nigeria since July 2022.
The variants of “BF.7 and XBB have also been circulating in South Africa since October 2022 but without any accompanying increase in cases, severe illness, or deaths,” it concluded.