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Botswana confirms presence of COVID-19 variant

27 Jan 2021, 14:55 GMT+10

Gaborone [Botswana], January 27 (ANI/Xinhua): Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) has confirmed the presence of the COVID-19 new variant 501Y.V2 first detected in neighbouring country, South Africa.

The BITRI said on Tuesday that it confirmed the new variant in collaboration with the National Health Laboratory through nanopore whole genome sequencing technology.

"This technology will be used in genomic surveillance to determine the distribution and prevalence of this variant and other unique lineage in Botswana," said BITRI in a statement.

According to health experts, the whole-genome sequencing provides a vast amount of information and the highest possible resolution for pathogen sub-typing.

The BITRI's findings came after the director of health services in the Ministry of Health and Wellness assigned the institution to determine if the new and more transmissible coronavirus 501Y.V2 variant was present in Botswana.

The country has also joined the bandwagon of Africa countries soliciting for vaccines to save its population from the pandemic, which ravages the nation and causes both health and economic chaos. (ANI/Xinhua)

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