DOH: Too early to say mutated coronavirus strain is dominant variant in PH
MANILA, Philippines — More evidence is needed to declare that the mutated strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which is believed to be more infectious than the original genotype of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is the dominant variant spreading in the Philippines.
In an online media forum Monday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the study of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) only confirmed the presence of the G614 variant of the COVID-19 virus in the country.
She also noted that the basis of PGC’s study is a small sample of positive cases from Quezon City.
“We still need a lot of evidence for us to say na mutated na ‘yung virus na nandito, na ‘yun ‘yung kumakalat sa bansa. Basta ang alam natin ‘yung G614 at D614 ang strains na meron tayo sa Pilipinas pero hindi pa conclusive kasi yung study ng Philippine Genome Center was just in Quezon City area. So kailangan pang palawakin para makita natin ng maayos ‘yan,” Vergeire told reporters.
(We still need a lot of evidence for us to say that the virus here is mutated, that it is the one that is spreading in the country. What we know so far is that the G614 and D614 are the strains we have in the Philippines but it is not yet conclusive because the study of the Philippine Genome Center was just in the Quezon City area. So it needs to be expanded so that we can see it well.)
According to the PGC, the G614 strain, along with the original D614 genotype, was detected in a sample of positive cases taken from Quezon City in June.
In a July study published in the scientific journal Cell, experts found out that patients infected with the G614 variant had a higher viral load compared to those infected with D614, but it does not appear to be more deadly nor does it appear to increase the disease severity.
Vergeire said the Department of Health has authorized the PGC to continue its study to gather more information regarding the virus’s mutational landscape in the country.
She also said that there’s “no solid evidence” yet confirming that G614, considered to be the globally dominant variant of the virus, is more transmissible.
Nonetheless, the Health official reminded the public to strictly follow health protocols regardless of what coronavirus strain may be detected in the country.
“Whatever strain there may be in the Philippines for SARS CoV-2, we just continue to enforce strictly and properly the minimum health standards,” she said.
The Philippines on Sunday reported 3,420 new COVID-19 cases and a record-high single-day increase of 40,397 recoveries, pushing their respective totals to 161,253 and 112,586.
Meanwhile, 2,665 people have so far died of the respiratory disease nationwide, nearly seven months since it was first reported in the country.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.