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African study finds bulk of COVID-19 variants came from abroad

African scientists and public health institutions have revealed that most of the continent’s COVID-19 variants originated from abroad, even though African countries were the only ones penalised with travel bans, according to a recent study.

The report on genomic surveillance in Africa was published and led by Stellenbosch University, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Africa Centre for Disease Control, and 300 other institutions across the continent.

The study showed that the Alpha variant, which emerged in Europe at the end of 2020, was responsible for infections in 43 countries with evidence of community transmission in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Angola. Most of the infections from the Delta variant were from India.

Meanwhile, the sequencing data for Omicron showed that Europe was responsible for most early infections in Africa, reports EWN. Although most flights were halted worldwide, Europe didn’t face any selective restrictions on travel – South Africa’s economy, however, took a huge dent from the travel bans.

Scientists hope this latest study will underscore Africa’s contribution to mitigating the pandemic.




EWN article – Most COVID-19 variants found in Africa came from abroad, study finds (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


New British COVID-19 variant raises R number and affects more under-20s


SA medical scientists scoff at UK’s red list claims


State of play with Omicron – The discovery, the spread, the politics, and the science


UK slammed for ‘baffling’ response to SA expertise, as Omicron sweeps the world




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