Ghana records 2 new Covid-19 variants
A cancer research company, Yemaachi Biotech,
has identified two new variants of the Covid-19 virus
which they say is of much concern.
In a Twitter post, they revealed that the two variants,
B.1 and B.1.525 have been in circulation in
Ghana since March 2020.
The B.1 variant
According to Dr Yaw Bediako, an immunologist
and Research Fellow at the West Africa Centre for
Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens at the University of Ghana,
the B.1 variant has not shown any sign of being able
to breach the vaccine-induced immunity.
“Currently there is no evidence that this variant
is capable of evading vaccine-induced immunity.
We must keep vaccinating at a high rate to minimise
the likelihood that such a variant will emerge,” he said.
the B.1.525 variant
However, concerning the B.1.525 variant which
was first identified in Nigeria, data gathered at the
research center showed it is more prevalent in the
Northern and Western Regions of Ghana.
It added that the variant has mutations that may
allow the virus to partly evade the immune system.
Explaining further, Public Health Expert and
Adjunct Professor at the New York University,
Nana Kofi Quakyi, said “the implication here is that
if you previously had Covid-19, the variant may be
able to get around the antibodies your body produced
in response to the infection. So you can get reinfected.
We don’t yet have data on how this particular
variant responds to the different vaccines.”
Prof. Quakyi stated that the identification
of these new variants was “a reminder of the
critical importance of broad, regular genomic
surveillance for SARSCoV2 variants in Covid-19 patients.”
He, thus, called on the government to invest more money
towards that effort to “expand its scope and frequency
because the information it provides is so important for
the vaccine drive.”
He added: “We really need to double down on infection control,
especially enforcement of limits on social gatherings!”
and called for a media briefing on the new variants soon.
“Those briefings are a core part of risk communication,
and they should be scheduled/frequent.
Detection of new variants should be an obvious
prompt to hold one,” he said in a Twitter post.