GENOMIC expert Christian Happi has described the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus as a dangerous beast.
He said this during an interview on Channels Television held on Monday and urged Nigerians to be more concerned with curbing the spread of the virus.
“The Delta virus that is responsible for the third wave that we are seeing across Africa and the world is deadlier than the ones we have seen before. We have to be very careful because we don’t have the resources to deal with the beast like the Delta variant,” he said.
Happi urged the government to adopt a more aggressive approach to communicating the severity of the disease to people, given the increased rate of transmissibility of the variant.
He described the new strain of the virus as more overwhelming than the previous strains and encouraged Nigerians to take COVID-19 preventive measures more seriously.
“We do not have to go through a third wave. If we apply non-pharmaceutical means, use our mask and wash our hands and avoid unnecessary gatherings, we can actually beat this virus and do without going through a third wave,” he said.
Speaking on the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine against the Delta variant, Happi said the vaccine could offer a level of protection against the virus.
“Yes, the vaccine was designed against the first strain, but remember that this variant has a lot of similarities with the first strain. You might get sick. But the probability that a person who has not been vaccinated can get sick is much higher than a person that has not been vaccinated,” he said.
Since the emergence of the Delta variant in Africa, there has been an upsurge in the number of COVID-19 cases and over 30,000 fatalities on the continent.
The Delta variant which, has been confirmed in 22 African countries, has been found to spread 225 per cent faster than the original virus.
The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, a new and highly contagious strain, was initially discovered in India last December.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described it as the most transmissible variant of the COVID-19, responsible for the rising cases in about 98 countries across the world.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) detected a carrier of the variant during a routine travel test required of international travellers at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Abuja recently.