The recently discovered variant of the Covid-19 is very contagious, as one person can spread the disease to four or five people – a higher rate of transmission than had been recorded earlier.
This is according to Virologist, Sunday Omilabu, a Nigerian scientist, and the Director of the Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology at the Lagos University College of Medicine and Teaching Hospital.
He submitted that “more people are coming down with severe signs and symptoms.”
In a bid to curtail the spread of the disease in Nigeria, Omilabu has spent a couple of weeks in a laboratory conducting genetic sequencing to learn more about the country’s Covid-19 variant, amid an increase in cases.
He asserted that the information gathered about the variant will help battle the spread of the disease in Nigeria
Key information about the variant
- The variants discovered in the UK and South Africa are different from the variants discovered in Nigeria.
- Nigeria is seeing more infections of Covid-19 but it is yet to be established if it is from the variant.
- Clinically, more people are coming down with severe signs and symptoms.
What they are saying
Virologist Omilabu submitted that:
- “I think we need to calm our mind down, there are going to be more variants to come. We need to be monitoring the virus, we need to sequence. If we sequence, then we would have more information about what is in circulation and then, of course, we need to continue with surveillance, we need to monitor how active the virus is in the environment… so, the public health experts, they have work to do and then government must support all these. As lab work is being done to learn more about the variant, Nigerians should remain vigilant to avoid spreading the virus.”
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa said:
- “The emergence of new Covid-19 variants is common. However, those with a higher speed of transmission or potentially increased pathogenicity are very concerning. Crucial investigations are underway to comprehensively understand the behaviour of the new mutant virus and steer response accordingly.”
John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention stated that:
- “Variants are a hallmark of this type of RNA virus. The more we do sequencing of this virus, the more variants we will see… We remain optimistic that the different vaccines will remain effective against these variants.”
What you should know
- Nigeria has confirmed 89,163 Covid-19 cases, including 1,302 deaths, according to figures from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The new variants have emerged as Covid-19 infections and on the rise in 47 African countries, nearly reaching the peak the continent saw in July.
- In the past 28 days, 10 countries — Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda — have reported the highest number of new cases, accounting for 90% of all the infections in Africa.
Covid-19: 70% of doctors in Nigeria are infected – NARD
NARD has claimed that the majority of its members are infected with Covid-19.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has claimed that majority of its members are infected with Covid-19.
This is according to Dr Adejo Arome, NARD’s First Vice President while speaking during an interview with Channels Television on Sunday.
Arome said that almost 70% of its members in “clinical practice” are infected with Covid-19. He also lamented that “almost all the doctors in the UCH Pediatrics Department, Lafia in Nasarawa State, had been infected with COVID-19.”
Dr Arome noted that he had been personally exposed to COVID-19 but could not be tested due to lack of access to a testing facility.
He also complained that some hospitals do not only lack hand gloves, they give one face mask to each of their doctors to use for two days.
The association noted that lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for its members and non-disclosure of true symptoms of sickness by people seeking treatment is contributing to this infection rate.
NARD is, thus, appealing to the government to come up with policies that would make it unlawful for patients to hide their medical conditions.
What they are saying
Arome, speaking on Channels TV, illustrated the challenges facing doctors in this pandemic era. He said:
“I must tell you that the morale among we doctors is very low at this point in time. It is so disheartening that the number of health workers being infected with Covid-19 is increasing daily – and it seems nothing is being done to reduce this number.
I heard that almost all the doctors in certain health facilities, including the UCH are infected. It is like that every day and I believe that every doctor in clinical practice should have been exposed to Covid-19.
Apart from PPE, people are not being truthful. They go to one hospital the doctor there tells them this is what I’m suspecting and when they are told what is wrong, they run away praying and thinking that they will get a different diagnosis elsewhere.
“I think it is high time the Federal Government stepped up and brought out policies that will make it unlawful for patients and their relatives to come to the hospital and lie to doctors because by so doing, they are currently exposing us and our families.
“In a pandemic, every patient coming into your consulting room is suspected to have COVID-19 until proven otherwise. But the truth is when we don’t have everything that we need to work with, you don’t expect the doctor that is treating the patients not to examine them.
“You will go to some hospitals and they will give a doctor one face mask for two days. You don’t even have gloves. You keep on writing prescriptions for patients to buy gloves and you as a doctor will feel bad because some people don’t even have food to eat, so why should you be writing them prescriptions to be buying gloves?
“Once one of us gets exposed, that person ends up exposing more than 4,000 patients because the doctor-patient ratio in this country is one to about 4,000 patients.”
What you should know
The weekly epidemiological report of COVID-19 situation by the NCDC shows that:
- Lagos has the highest number of covid-19 related deaths – 271 (18.9%).
- Edo State recorded 127( 8.9%) deaths out the 1,435 so far in the country.
- The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has 118 (8.2%)
According to Nairametrics Covid-19 tracker, as of Sunday 24th January 2021
- The total number of cases stood at 121,566.
- The total number of death stood at 1,497.
- The total number of tests conducted stood at 1,258,534.
Lagos State already making contacts with vaccine manufacturers – Sanwo-Olu
Governor Sanwo-Olu has stated that the Lagos State Government has commenced talks with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the state has started talks with vaccine manufactures, citing that the state will only work with frontline suppliers.
This was disclosed by the Governor during an interview on Channels TV on Sunday evening.
“We want the Federal government to take the lead and rightfully so, as a sovereign they have all of the protocol and contacts to make that happen.
“We are conversing, we have a meeting on Tuesday with PTF and NCDC under the Federal umbrella. We want the nation to take the lead (vaccine procurement) and as a state, we are giving them that space, because they are a sovereign they can have that conversation,” the Governor said.
The Governor stated that Lagos has started conversations with companies including AstraZeneca and Pfizer and will skip the operations of middlemen so as not to run foul of protocols.
“But other than that, as a sub-national, we are also taking our destiny to our hands, we have started conversations with some of the vaccine manufacturers,
“Pfizer, for example, we have made contact with them. The Oxford-AstraZeneca, I have made contacts with them, Johnson and Johnson are not out yet
“We are making our own sub-national contacts, parts of the things that will come out of it is that once we see what the nation is doing because this is something that we do not want to deal with middlemen or people that are not the frontline suppliers,
“We don’t want to run foul of the protocols, but we have started making contacts at board level with the manufacturers.
“How that will work out, we still have a week or 2, but we have started making contacts already,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that Lagos does not have to vaccinate the 20 million population, but “The plan is to ensure that there is herd immunity and that typically speaks about 50-60% of your population.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported last week that the Governor warned that the rising second wave of the pandemic in Lagos has seen the demand for oxygen rise 5 times from 70 six-liter cylinders per day to 350 six-liter cylinders at Yaba Mainland Hospital alone.
- The Governor added that Lagos is closely monitoring plans by the FG to acquire vaccines and said the State has also resumed discussion with potential manufacturers. He also said the State is building its own regulatory framework for vaccine distribution.
Covid-19: EU says it will force vaccine companies to respect supply contract
The EU has said that it will push pharmaceutical companies to fulfill commitments to the supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
The European Union (EU) has said that it will make pharmaceutical companies respect contracts they have signed for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
The statement by the EU follows a series of delays and slowdowns in the supply of the vaccines from some drugmakers.
According to a report from Reuters, this disclosure was made by the European Council President, Charles Michel, while speaking to Europe 1 radio on Sunday, January 24, 2021.
Michel in his statement said, “We plan to make the pharmaceutical companies respect the contracts they have signed … by using the legal means at our disposal.’’
While he made no mention of possible sanctions, Michel said that the EU would insist on transparency about the reasons for the delays.
He pointed out that after Pfizer’s first warnings about delays of several weeks, the EU had managed to reduce these delays by taking a tough stance.
Michel also said, “We banged our fist on the table and finally announced delays of several weeks turned into a slowdown of deliveries.’’
What you should know
- It can be recalled that Pfizer Inc last week announced that it was temporarily slowing supplies to Europe to make manufacturing changes that would boost output.
- On Friday, AstraZeneca also said that initial deliveries to the region will fall short because of a production glitch.
- Pfizer had been set to deliver about 80 million doses of the Covid-19 to the 27 countries by March.