Researchers have submitted data to the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggesting that the world’s most mutated Covid-19 variant has been found in travellers from Tanzania.
A report submitted to the United Nations agency by a health expert says the strain has several more mutations than any other version recorded so far.
Tulio de Oliveira, director of Krisp, a scientific institute that carries out genetic testing for 10 African nations, said his team found the variant in travellers arriving in Angola from Tanzania.
Meanwhile, little is known about the virus in Tanzania after the East African country stopped releasing data on Covid-19 during the late former president John Magufuli’s time in office, raising fears of a hidden epidemic.
The East Africa country last reported coronavirus statistics in May last year 2020 and the following month, the late leader declared that the virus had been conquered by prayer.
Back then, Tanzania had, according to the offical statistics, recorded 500 cases and 20 deaths.
Magufuli who was a Covid-19 sceptic died earlier this month from heart disease. Some unconfirmed reports suggest he had contracted the coronavirus.
Earlier this year, Magufuli indirectly admitted that the coronavirus was a problem for Tanzania following the death of a number of senior government officials.
It remains to be seen if his successor Samia Suluhu Hassan, the former vice president, will take measures like mandating mask-wearing or ordering vaccines to try to halt the spread of the pandemic.