New Covid-19 Strains Confirmed In Uganda

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Uganda has registered Covid-19 cases with the South African strain B1 351 and Nigerian variant B.1.525.

The two variants are said to be more contagious than the usual virus.
Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, the executive director of Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), said a few people have been reported with these strains adding that for now, Ugandans should not be worried.

Uganda rolled out its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 and by March 23, at least 32,526 people had been vaccinated, according to Ministry of Health data.

This comes a month after the country registered a different strain, A3, which was first seen in some infected people in northern Uganda.
However, this strain has also been reported in other countries in Europe, the USA, and Rwanda.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Variant 501Y.V2 also known as B1.351, was first identified in South Africa and has now been detected in at least eight African countries.

According to one of the international media outlets, this month health officials in Mississippi also registered the  B1.351 strain and raised concerns on whether it might impact the effectiveness of vaccines.

WHO states that in February, South Africa announced that it will pause the roll-out of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because of a study indicating that the vaccine is less effective in preventing mild and moderate infection with the 501Y.V2 variant that is dominant in the country.

Currently, the government through UVRI is still establishing the source of these strains in the country.
Today, Prof Adrian Hill, a member of the team that developed the Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine, will present key information about the vaccine in a webinar that is open to everyone and UVRI will update the public on the Covid-19 strains in Uganda.

Scientists state that all viruses, including the one that causes Covid-19, constantly mutate into new versions or variants.

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