Photo via The Irish Times
The Nigerian variant of COVID-19 (B1.525) has arrived in Malaysia, after two foreign nationals, who had flown in from the United Arab Emirates, tested positive for the virus.
According to Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, this mutation was first detected in the UK and Nigeria in December 2020.
“The Institute for Medical Research (IMR) subsequently proceeded to do full genome sequencing due to their travel history. Further analysis indicated the presence of all the reported mutations corresponding to this variant,” he said.
This includes protein spike mutations E484K, Q677H, F888L and a similar suite of protein deletions seen in the UK variant, B.1.1.7.
Dr Noor Hisham further explained that studies show that mutation E484K which is also seen in other variants, including the South African (B.1.351) and Brazilian (P.1) variants, had been reported to evade the immune system.
It’s understood that the two foreigners are a married couple from India, who were travelling with their 6-year-old son, and they came to Malaysia because the husband got a job offer here.
Dr Noor Hisham assured that the Health Ministry (MOH), through IMR and the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre, will constantly monitor the development of this Nigerian B.1.525 mutation and will keep the public updated.
Please continue to follow COVID-19 SOPs and stay safe, people!
by Kyle Roshen Jacob