South African variant ‘most common’, not ‘dominant’ among Covid-19 cases–DoH

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THE Department of Health (DoH) reported on Tuesday that samples, which tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), came from different variants, most “common” of which was from South Africa.

According to the latest round of genome sequencing among 744 samples, 380 were infected with the B.1.351 or the South African variant; 289, the B.1.1.7 or the UK variant; and nine P.3 or the so-called Philippine variant.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), those from South Africa and the UK were considered “variants of concern” because of their increased transmissibility and potential to decrease the potency of the current vaccines in use.

The P.3 variant, meanwhile, is still regarded as a “variant under investigation”, as current data remained insufficient to determine its public health implications.

Of the South African variant cases, 107 were found from returning overseas Filipinos, 198 were detected locally, and 77 were still being verified. One case remains active while the rest have recovered.

For the UK variant, 48 were from returning overseas Filipinos, 185 were acquired locally and 56 were undergoing verification. Three cases remain active, two have died and 284 have recovered.

Of the nine P.3 variant cases, three were from returning overseas Filipinos, four were local cases and two were still being verified. All of them have recovered.

The DoH clarified that the South African variant was not “dominant” but rather it was the most “common” found among the 7,167 samples sequenced so far.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd said during President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People on Monday that the South African variant has become the “dominant variant” in the country.

READ: South African variant most dominant in PH — Duque

Cases with the South African variant comprise 18.2 percent of the 5,917 with assigned lineages, 16 percent had the UK variant, 2.7 had the P.3 variant and 0.03 percent had the P.1 variant from Brazil.


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