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Nigeria Detects First Cases of Omicron Strain

© REUTERS / AFOLABI SOTUNDEA banner is displayed on a fence at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination centre, after the government commenced the roll out of mass vaccination in Abuja, Nigeria November 19, 2021.
A banner is displayed on a fence at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination centre, after the government commenced the roll out of mass vaccination in Abuja, Nigeria November 19, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.12.2021
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Much is still unknown about the Omicron variant, with experts suggesting it could be more transmissible than other strains and even resistant to the existing vaccines against the coronavirus.
Nigeria has confirmed its first cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant among two passengers who arrived from South Africa last week.
Retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed cases of coronavirus among travellers to Nigeria identified the Selta strain among samples collected in October 2021, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced on Wednesday.

*CORRECTION: The headline and the article have been amended in order to reflect a clarification from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control that the variant detected in the October sample is Delta, not Omicron.

The Omicron variant of coronavirus has been identified in over 20 countries so far. The new strain was first reported in southern Africa last week, with the World Health Organization (WHO) classifying it as a variant of concern, as its high number of mutations possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous.
In this file photo the Moderna logo is seen at the Moderna campus in Norwood, Massachusetts on on December 2, 2020, where the biotechnology company is mass producing its Covid-19 vaccine. - US biotech firm Moderna said on July 7, 2021 it had dosed its first participants in a human study of an mRNA vaccine that targets multiple strains of influenza. The company intends to recruit 180 adults in the United States for the Phase 1/2 portion of the trial to evaluate the safety and strength of immune response to the shot, called mRNA-1010. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.11.2021
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The emergence of the new strain has prompted a number of countries to reintroduce travel bans against southern African nations and other restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the new variant. The World Health Organization has, however, warned blanket travel bans will not prevent the spread of Omicron. WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that while it was understandable for countries to seek to protect their citizens "against a variant we don't yet fully understand", the world needed to provide a "calm, coordinated and coherent" global response.
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