Majority of Covid-19 variants in Africa came from abroad - study

Majority of Covid-19 variants in Africa came from abroad - study

A new scientific survey has found that the majority of Covid-19 variants in Africa were introduced from abroad. 

COVID-19 test

This is according to a study published on Thursday on Genomic Surveillance in Africa, in which scientists were able to describe the introduction and spread of Covid-19 during the pandemic. 

The study was led by two labs set up in UKZN and Stellenbosch. 

Its authors worked together to describe and analyse over 100,000 genomes and characterise Covid variants in real-time. 

UKZN Professor Tulio de Oliveira says the initial waves of infections in Africa came mainly from Europe. 

He says the genomic surveillance can be used to fight other epidemics currently on the continent. 

"We are using that same technology to fight HIV, TB, Malaria, Ebola and all other epidemics in Africa." 

The study has laid bare the harsh discrimination of travel bans imposed on the country. 

De Olivera says this was amplified for Omicron BA.2. 

"Europe and North America just showing as we were penalised for an unethical and unscientific travel ban would not stop the spread of Omicron around the world. 

"Ironically most of the infections in Africa that were causing big waves of infections were from other regions of the world."


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