The Cancer Research Company, Yemaachi Biotech has announced that it has identified two new variants of the Covid-19 virus which according to them is a matter of grave concern.
The company in a Twitter post revealed that the two new variants; B.1 and B.1.525 have been in circulation in Ghana since March 2020. They explained that the first variant- B.1 was first identified in Morocco and Algeria, and experts believe it has very transmissibility.
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 after careful study has not been found to be able to breach the vaccine-induced immunity.
He said “Currently there is no evidence that this variant is capable of evading vaccine-induced immunity.
‘We must keep vaccinating at a high rate to minimize the likelihood that such a variant will emerge,” The B.1.525 variant was first identified in Nigeria.
Data gathered at the research center showed that it was 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.
Dovetailing into substantive matters, the 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 called on the government to as a matter urgency direct funds towards the efforts to “expand its scope and frequency because the information it provides is so important for the vaccine drive.
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.”
By: Edwin Abanga