Another new variant of coronavirus has emerged in Nigeria, Africa’s leading public health official has said.
John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed the existence of the new P681H strain on Thursday – saying it is different to the ones found recently in the UK and South Africa.
Medics do not currently believe the new strain is more infectious than previous strains, but Dr Nkengasong added that scientists needed ‘more time’ to study it.
That strain has emerged as Nigeria reports record numbers of coronavirus cases – with 1,133 recored Wednesday – though the new variant is not thought to be behind that surge.
The country, Africa’s most-populous, reported just five deaths from the virus Wednesday, well below its first-wave peak.
Coronavirus variants emerge routinely as the virus spreads with some 4,000 logged to date, but those in the UK and South Africa have been widely reported because scientists believe they are significantly more infectious than previous strains.
New variants can also affect the ability of vaccines to fight the virus, though this is not thought to be the case with the UK or South African variant.