PH variant ‘not a concern’ — DoH

THE Department of Health (DoH) allayed public fears over the “Philippine variant” that was first detected in Central Visayas.

In a statement, the DoH said that the P.3 variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)  was not considered “a variant of concern” that could potentially affect the country amid a reported surge in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana, a member of the Task Force for Emerging Variants and infectious disease specialist, confirmed that the mutations spreading in the Central Visayas region was a new variant that descended from the B1.128 lineage of the virus.

DoH said, however, that while the samples sent to the  Phylogenetic Assignment of Named Global Outbreak Lineages (Pangolin) had the P.3 variant, current data was insufficient to conclude whether the variant will have public health implications. 

In its latest sequencing run of 752 samples this week, 13 new cases of the P.3 variant had been detected, which raises the total P.3 variant cases in the country to 98.

The B1.128 lineage of the virus was also responsible for the P.1 or the so-called “Brazilian variant of concern”, which can possibly increase transmissibility and could generate reinfection among those who had been previously infected with Covid.

The country detected a single case of the P.1 variant from a Returning Overseas Filipino who arrived from Brazil.

Meanwhile, 59 more B117 or UK variant cases have been detected in the sequencing run, 30 of which are local cases, 18 are overseas returning Filipinos and 11 still being verified.

Most of the local B117 variant cases were from Cordillera with 16 cases, 10 from the National Capital Region, 2 from Central Luzon and 2 from Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon)

From the South African or the B1351 variant, 32 new cases had been identified — 21 local cases, 1 returning overseas Filipino and 10 still awaiting verification.

Nineteen cases of the variant are from the NCR, 1 is from Cagayan Valley, and 1 from Northern Mindanao.

Majority of the samples that were sequenced by the PGC were from the NCR, Calabarzon and Cordillera Administrative Region