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Since March of last year, the world’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced Wednesday, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with over 200 million people, has conducted 1,489,103 COVID-19 studies.

The NCDC reported 571 new cases during the tests performed on Tuesday alone, while the center also recorded 12 new deaths in its latest report.

“Till date, 153,187 cases have been confirmed, 129,943 cases have been discharged and 1,874 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” the NCDC said.

The NCDC also announced Tuesday evening “the inclusion of the Ondo State Public Health Laboratory to the NCDC Molecular Laboratory Network.”

 

The Ondo State was ranked ninth among the most affected Nigerian states by the novel virus with 21 reported cases, according to the center’s latest figures.

“Testing at any PUBLIC laboratory in the NCDC network is FREE of charge,” the NCDC noted.

This came in the midst of recent reports suggesting that the country had identified an unknown virus strain — named B.1.525 — of COVID-19 that is distinct from the UK version.

“So far, this [new variant] has been detected among cases in five states in Nigeria. B.1.525 cases have also been reported in other countries in travelers from Nigeria,” the NCDC said in an earlier report.

Researchers and scientists are conducting studies to understand whether the new variant has any effect on immunity, diagnostic severity, transmissibility and already licensed vaccines, according to the disease control agency.

In a sample collected on Nov. 23 from a patient in Lagos State, the new variant was first identified.

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