A medical virologist at the Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, Dr Oladipo Kolawole, has said the low sequencing capacity of Nigeria has put the country at risk of IHU, Demicron and other new variants of COVID-19.
The expert, in an interview said there was the need for the country to improve its sequencing capabilities, saying this would go a long way in the fight against coronavirus.
He said, “Nigeria is at risk of any new variants in general because our sequencing capacity is low compared to other countries; if we improve on our sequencing capability it will go a long way in terms of molecular epidemiology of the virus.
The medical virologist said studies were still ongoing to know the severity of the IHU and Demicron variants of COVID-19.
“Studies are still ongoing to know how deadly these variants are; although IHU has almost as many mutations as Omicron, there is no evidence so far that it is more transmissible and dangerous. As for Demicron, studies are still ongoing to be sure that this variant is not laboratory error while Dr Leondios Kostrikis who reported it still insisted that it is not an error; studies are still ongoing to validate his claims.
“Researchers found out that IHU has 46 mutations and 37 deletions. Studies found out that these mutations and deletions refer to a single change in the virus’ genetic code. Each of these changes could potentially alter characteristics of the virus, like how transmissible it is, response to vaccines among others. Demicron as reported and as its name sounds combine the characteristics of Delta and Omicron variants,” Kolawole said.
He added that fully vaccinated people would not experience any severe diseases if infected with these new variants.