British Columbia health officials say they’ve identified another COVID-19 variant believed to be linked to Nigeria.
Speaking at a news conference in Vancouver, Canada, a top doctor in B.C, Dr. Bonnie Henry said a recent case has been confirmed to be a variant associated with travel to Nigeria.
Dr. Henry says 29 cases are related to a variant first identified in the United Kingdom, 17 are associated with South Africa and the latest one involves a person who travelled to Nigeria and returned to the Interior Health region.
This variant, labelled B.1.525, is new to the province, and the case is the first to have been confirmed in Canada.
B.C. Centre for Disease Control also has 29 cases related to a variant first identified in the United Kingdom and 17 associated with South Africa.
“We aren’t entirely clear yet whether this variant also has increased transmissibility or causes more severe illness, but our lab team is working with their counterparts across the country and internationally to get a better understanding of what this can mean,” Dr. Henry said.
She said the person is isolating after travelling to Nigeria, and that health officials aren’t aware of any transmission. She announced this new-to-the-province variant after explaining that the B.C. Centre for Disease Control has been working with provincial labs to conduct what she called “ongoing surveillance.”
“The purpose of this surveillance is to help health officials understand how many people have these variants,” she said.
What you should know
- Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in several parts of the world during this pandemic.
- A variant identified as B.1.1.7 with a large number of mutations was discovered in the United Kingdom (UK) with a large number of mutations in the fall of 2020.
- Another variant called B.1.351 emerged independently in South Africa. Cases caused by this variant have been reported in the US at the end of January 2021.
- In Brazil, a variant called P.1 emerged that was first identified in travellers from Brazil, who were tested during routine screening at an airport in Japan, in early January.