The World Health Organisation has revealed that the new Covid19 variant strain which has been discovered in some countries does not affect the efficacy and effectiveness of the newly innovated covid-19 vaccine.
This new variant strain (501. V2) of SARSCoV-2 has been reported in the parts of Europe, South Africa and Nigeria.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Uganda, Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam revealed that viruses constantly change.
While the new variant came a bit sooner and appeared more diverse, Tegegn says the change does not affect the effectiveness of the vaccines.
“Although a variant group has been reported in other countries, as far as the African continent is concerned, the current reporting puts South Africa and Nigeria as the cases. As far as the South African variation is concerned, it has no relation with the UK version although both of them share the same kind of changes, but they are slightly different.”
As far as management of covid-19 is concerned, Dr Tegegn said that they are looking at seeing whether they need to redefine what ‘close contact’ is.
“Close contact was 15 minutes of either interrupting, or continuous contact of less than 2 metres with a person who is infected. But this variant of covid is showing that you do not need such a long exposure and the distance could be higher,” he said.
“The UK government and the rest of other countries which reported are keeping WHO informed and we are encouraging all governments who have the capacity including UVRI to do a general mapping and to share that information with the rest of the world so that we can know whether there’s a link.”
The covid-19 vaccine
As for the Covid vaccine, he said, there is worry of the advanced world sticking the vaccines at the expense of poor countries. He however assured that efforts are underway to ensure rapid production.
“Let me reassure you that this Covax facility which is a coalition between Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), WHO and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), ensures that at least a billion of the world population will receive the vaccine before the end of the year.”
He also said that there are 192 countries who have already committed to be part of this initiative, to ensure fare distribution, Uganda inclusive.